Embarking On A New Business Adventure

Lara's dog laying down on the grass overlooking the beachFor Lara, having Bonnie, her service dog, by her side means everything and it’s something she now wants to give others the opportunity to enjoy.

When Lara was 17, she and her family made a fateful trip to go shopping at their local shopping centre.

“We walked past a man in the car park who was carrying a tiny, scrawny, wormy pup who had fleas literally jumping off her,” Lara explains.

“We stopped and gave the pup a pat and the guy said "Do you want her?" so we brought Bonnie for $30 in the car park.”

Lara says originally the puppy was going to be for my mum, however, due to her mum being ill and Bonnie being a rather boisterous puppy, she took over her training.

Now, that once boisterous puppy, is trained as a psychiatric service dog and helps Lara with her anxiety and depression amongst other things.

“She searches each room of the house on command and barks an alert if she finds anything out of place, she performs "block" and "cover" which is where she stands in front or behind me to keep a barrier between me and other people, Bonnie is trained to get medicine from the cupboard, she also picks up fallen objects, and is trained to bother me until I get out of bed in the morning,” Lara says.

“But apart from these trained tasks having Bonnie with me all the time has given me the confidence to go out by myself to the shops or movies, and I've been able to start joining my friends on outings again, things I couldn't do because of anxiety.”

After training Bonnie, Lara began to entertain the idea of training dogs for others and Ability Links was there to help.

“I really enjoyed training Bonnie and it came quite easily to me, and after seeing how much a service dog can help someone I wanted to train service dogs for other people.”

“Ability Links has been really supportive of my plans. They have gotten me into contact with people who have been able to help with the business, people that I never would have thought of or known how to contact otherwise.”

“I started work on a proper business plan in July last year, and since that time I have started a dog trainer's course and will be starting a small business management course soon.”

As for the future, Lara says she will be continuing her studies and push forward with her new business, as well as continuing to try to overcome her social anxiety and become more independent.