Assistant dog for Julian Purcell

GOOD CAUSE: Julian Purcell with his mother Courtney and two of his cousin's dogs, Benny and Sam. The Purcell family is hoping to raise enough money to get Julian an assistant dog.
GOOD CAUSE: Julian Purcell with his mother Courtney and two of his cousin's dogs, Benny and Sam. The Purcell family is hoping to raise enough money to get Julian an assistant dog.

WARRNAMBOOL residents have the chance to help prove that dogs truly are a man’s best friend.

Two-year-old Julian Purcell will be matched with a dog through the Dogs for Kids with Disabilities (DKD) program.

Julian was born with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, a genetic disorder which results in the poor development of several body systems. Some of these include heart defects, poor immune system, cleft palate, blood complications, global developmental delays, poor muscle tone, feeding and breathing issues.

Julian has been in and around hospitals all his life. He has undergone multiple surgeries, including open heart surgery. He currently sees over 20 specialists at the Royal Children’s hospital for ongoing surveillance, testing and infections due to his immunodeficiency and complex medical history. He has obstructive sleep apnea due to Tracheomalacia and wakes around every 20 minutes.

Alongside this, he has restless legs and extreme night pains from his syndrome.

In November, a representative and a dog from DKD came to Warrnambool to visit Julian, a meeting his mother Julian said proved how much he would benefit from a DKD dog.

“We were given a wonderful opportunity for Julian to be matched with an assistant dog who will be specifically trained for his needs,” Ms Purcell said. “His assistant dog will be able to help him through hospital stays, travel and sleep. Most importantly, it will encourage laughter, happiness and help Julian express love.”

The Purcell family has to raise $25,000 of the $40,000 it costs DKD, a not-for-profit organisation, to train a dog.

The Warrnambool Kiwanis group will donate all the money they raise from a barbecue at Bunnings on December 20 to Julian.  

Anyone wishing to donate can do so by going online to www.gofundme.com/friend-for-life-assistant-dog