Assistance Dog for Matthew

$12,949 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 86 people in 14 months


                                                    I'M WORKING THE CAMERA NOW   - I'M SUCH A NATURAL                                                           

                                                                                                IS IT PLAYTIME ALREADY  ??     
                                                                            CAN I SIT NEXT TO YOU PLEASE ??

                                                                   OK..... NOW  I NEED YOU  TO TICKLE ME AGAIN PLEASE ?? 


Our only son Matthew has struggled with Autism since being officially diagnosed at the age of 3, he has overcome many challenges and obstacles throughout his early years and still continues to display many symptoms. We will always continue to be there for Matthew to guide and provide him with unconditional love and support in his journey ahead. One new challenge we have ahead of us is purchasing an assistance dog for Matthew to aid with his lifelong special needs.

Matthew's childhood and teenage years were difficult to manage, he had no interest in being around dogs and would often scream and run away from them when they approached him to play. 

We were totally amazed with Matthew’s turnaround when he was recently introduced to 2 specialised assistance dogs for the first time at our home. Matthew became remarkably relaxed while doting on both the dogs when they were individually brought to our home at different times. The dog breed that we are seeking is a “Lagotto Romagnolo” which is specifically trained intensively to assist Autistic people, the Laggotto is very receptive to the training and we were keen to commence the program with the team at CSTDA .

Matthew currently has a medical support team  but our family continues to witness Matthew’s struggles day in and day out with episodes of elevated anxiety resulting in Matthew retaliating by having meltdowns and becoming overwhelmed with worry. It has been heartbreaking for our family and friends to see Matthew affected sometimes for many hours leading into reclusive tendencies where he needs to be alone to process his emotions. No medical intervention can overpower the affection, loyalty and love a dog can give a human being. We recently made inquiries and applied through The Centre for Therapy Dogs Australia ( CSTDA ) regarding an assistance dog for Matthew.

Matthew’s medical support team consisting of his specialist Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Family Doctor have all kindly provided referrals as additional support for Matthew’s NDIA funding application.

After 2 trial home visits arranged through CSTDA with  Laggotto therapy dogs meeting Matthew for the first time, we have seen an amazing turn around in Matthew’s demeanor while in the presence of these wonderful loyal animals and more importantly Matthew's exposure around  other dogs in our neighborhood.  A trained assistance dog would open up so many possibilities for Matthew and we believe there would be no limit to his potential overcoming his challenges, therapeutic goals and the opportunity to create a lasting partnership that aims to improve Matthews’s quality of life, enhance his independence and facilitate his increased participation in society.

The purpose of a assistance dog in Matthew’s life will greatly aid him in improving his sporadic sleeping patterns and controlling his high anxiety episodes.

Recently, we were advised by NDIS that our proposal for funding of an assistance dog for Matthew was rejected on the basis that an assistance dog is not deemed to be value for money or a “reasonable or necessary” support, the two words used in the governing legislation for the scheme.

Ironically, the premise of the NDIS was to listen to what worked for an individual and support them, and the agency’s refusal to do so for people like our son Matthew is a failure in our eyes to “give effect to the purpose of the scheme”.

The one thing that we have witnessed first-hand in Matthew’s life that can act spontaneously to calm him, doesn’t discriminate or have a social ­dimension unfortunately cannot be provided to Matthew by the NDIS.

 An assistance dog does not challenge Matthew socially and that is something that cannot be replicated in any other therapy at all, which Matthew seeks regularly and is managed at our own cost.

Having a assistance dog will also provide a purpose for Matthew to communicate, promote an exercising regime, become more settled, encourage positive interaction and conversation with family, friends and the general public and most importantly, to ALWAYS have a friend.

The costs associated for the assistance dog and training is not cheap (valued around $30,000 over a period of approximately 2 years of specialised training and one that we as a family are not able to fund ourselves without further assistance.

We have set up a secured account and committed $10,000 of our savings to kick off the fund campaign.  We have been overwhelmed with the level of support we have received so far to make this goal achievable and a reality for Matthew.

Are you willing to assist to make this very important support program become a reality sooner rather than later?

A donation of any amount would be greatly appreciated by our family to put towards the training program provided by The Centre for Therapy Dogs Australia (CTSDA).


Kind Regards,

Arch, Paola and Matthew Donnoli.
+ Read More
Hello everyone,
We have great news to share !!

Our family are delighted to announce that Matthew has a new 4 legged friend in our life and her name is STELLA.

We will endeavor to keep you updated with the training program and look forward to having Stella at home with us full time in May after she completed the full training with Matthew and the team at CSTDA .
+ Read More
Good news! Matthew has his 4 legged friend in training and has bonded with her. We have named her Stella she is 18 months old and we should have her home with us full time by May. We will keep you updated with her progress.
+ Read More
Hi Everyone,
Just another quick update...
Abbey and Matthew are enjoying each others company and have recently commenced travel training on public transport.
Arch, Paula and Matthew.
+ Read More
Photos of 8 week old Charli who we met last weekend.

Charli also has a sister - name unknown as yet.

Both look very cute :)
+ Read More
Read a Previous Update

$12,949 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 86 people in 14 months
Your share could be bringing in donations. Sign in to track your impact.
We will never post without your permission.
In the future, we'll let you know if your sharing brings in any donations.
We weren't able to connect your Facebook account. Please try again later.
Mohammad Afzali
27 days ago
Farid Rashidi
2 months ago
2 months ago
Con Vasiliadis
3 months ago
Mitchell Oates
3 months ago
Maria Gaggiano
5 months ago
Antonella Marinucci
5 months ago
Elisa Gagliardi
5 months ago
Chunxiang Zhao
7 months ago
Nick Bisso
7 months ago
Use My Email Address
By continuing, you agree with the GoFundMe
terms and privacy policy
There's an issue with this Campaign Organizer's account. Our team has contacted them with the solution! Please ask them to sign in to GoFundMe and check their account. Return to Campaign

Are you ready for the next step?
Even a $5 donation can help!
Donate Now Not now
Connect on Facebook to keep track of how many donations your share brings.
We will never post on Facebook without your permission.