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Son Eran now attends college and uses public transport

You may remember that in our first email newsletter to ANDAAT members and supporters we were proud to announce that Eli Picker has just returned from her fact-finding mission overseas with her 18-year-old autistic son Eran. Eli was not a doggy person and not entirely convinced that an Assistance Dog was a good solution for her son and the rest of the family, so she decided to take a trip abroad to learn more about AAT and its applied benefits.

Eli returned a changed person, loaded with information and knowledge following interaction with other families in similar circumstances. She had the opportunity to visit a University whose postgraduates study the relationship between humans and animals, met a unique and gifted person who is totally dedicated to training assistance dogs for people with special needs and met a wonderful woman whose dog knowledge is incredible. Shortly afterwards they acquired a puppy from CSTDA and embarked on a challenging AAT exercise. That happened ages ago in September 2008. Well, today all this is history


Welcome to the first of what we hope is the first of many e-Newsletters and updates about ANDAAT activity and Animal Assisted Therapy in Australia and abroad.

I would like to thank you all for being so interested in the concept and vision of ANDAAT. Receiving this newsletter means that you have been part of the ground force that has assisted and supported ANDAAT from its beginning.

ANDAAT has been established as a network to promote Animal Assisted Therapies (AAT) and Animal Assisted Activities (AAA) and educate others about their value and benefit


Our organization aims to improve public and government bodies perception of AAT services, provide a network to the providers of AAT & AAA, promote the use of Animal Assisted Therapies and Activities, and assist those who wish to use, research, study, and work in AAT and AAA.

ANDAAT’s mission statement is to act as an network umbrella organization to ensure that all information and advances in AAT & AAA regarding; assistance, service and therapy animals, research studies, Australian state laws and standards, Australian and International organisations are accessible to all Australians.


Rachel Wells, a reporter for Age newspaper, in December 5, 2011 took this picture as part of the news article “Spot the difference” under changes to the Department of Transport’s “Assistance Animal Pass”.

It depicts Eran with his best friend Spot  “Assistance Autism Dog” taking a ride on a tram in Melbourne. Generally, no one would have noted Eran on the tram if not for the dog.So what is the difference? How many people would have predicted that this is possible and achievable?

The Picker family says that the changes they have seen in their son since the smooth collie arrived over two years ago have been “unbelievable”.

The Picker family says that the changes they have seen in their son since the smooth collie arrived over two years ago have been “unbelievable”.

The Pickers incredible courage and commitment did not end with completion of the private and personally funded AAT program, so to continue the momentum in the therapy of Eran they have embarked on another experimental adventure. They have taken leave from work, bought a four-wheel drive and caravan and embarked on a 12-month journey around Australia.

On behalf of ANDAAT and all of our members, we wish Spot, Eran and family a safe, happy and successful trip.

So watch for this poster on the back of the caravan.


ANDAAT Registration

We are very pleased to announce that ANDAAT LIMITED registration has been completed.
The Australian Network for the Development of Animal Assisted Therapies (ANDAAT) is a not for profit and a Health Promotion Charity organization registered in Victoria Australia.
ANDAAT LIMITED ACN 142 629 963 is a registered public company limited by guarantee under Corporations Act 2001 as of 24 March 2010.

ANDAAT Foundation

ANDAAT FOUNDATION is a Trust endorsed as Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) from October 2010. ANDAAT Foundation is the funding arm of ANDAAT LIMITED and has been established for the sole purpose of receiving funds from the public and using them to achieve the goals of ANDAAT. The Foundation plays a vital role in raising, managing and distributing those funds in accordance with its trust deed.

Keeping up the momentum

Recently, ANDAAT has received many queries from organisations and parents of autistic children about programs involving Assistance Autism Dogs and other specialized AAT Dog programs.

We are aware that currently the Centre for Service and Therapy Dogs Australia (CSTDA) has two Autism Assistance puppies placed in Australia, although there are many others placed in Israel and around the world. These puppies are precious as it takes a lot of time effort and skill to select a puppy with a potential to fulfill a task of and Autism Assistance Dog.

Most families today are unable to finance such program without external funding. There is no specific government funding available yet for such programs and the only option for these families is to turn to charity organisations and other private funds.

Validation and Study

Currently, there is little empirical data on the effect of Autism Assistance Dogs, although there is a wealth of anecdotal information supporting their benefits. However, the evidence gathered from some Australian families and others from overseas provide an overwhelming positive feedback on the changes that they have experienced since acquiring an Autism Assistance Dog from the CSTDA and some other similar organisation abroad.

Please note the CSTDA does not simply provide a trained dog, but works with the family for two years post-placement to obtain the best therapeutic value from their investment ensuring the fullest integration of the dog into the family’s lifestyle. This on-going program enables refinements of the program when required through maturation of the child or changing life circumstances.

We need more such AAT programs and funding to continue the research and study the benefits of Animal Assisted Therapy to establish scientific evidence that will lead to the appropriate government health provisions and funding.

We are more than ever encouraged by the evidence from research, various AAT programs, and the involvement of members of scientific communities and researchers. The formation of ANDAAT is a positive step in the direction of the progression of AAT in Australia and aims to help those who desperately need assistance.

More Animal Assissted Therapies

We need to enable more Animal Assisted Therapy and Activity programs in Australia.
We are seeking donations and grants for the funding of research, study and the support of AAT and AAA programs to make a difference in the lives of individuals affected by certain disorders and for their families.

Assistance Animal Pass

One of our quiet achievements is to change the conditions under which the Department of Transport issued the “Assistance Animal Pass” for people who needed to travel on public transport with an assistance of an animal relieve the effects of their disability. We considered the pass to be restrictive and discriminatory.

The conditions of the previous pass required that it could be issued if the animal had been trained from a shortlist of accredited animal training organisations. The application process was so prohibitive that only 15 people who had an assistance dog other than a “guide dog” or a “hearing dog” had applied for such a pass and therefore many did not have assess to public transport.

Those requirements have been lifted through the lobbying of ANDAAT.

We see it as a big achievement for our young organisation and a big win for hundreds of people who had their assistance animals privately trained.

We wish to thank the Department of Transport Market Development for hosting the meeting, Dr. Linda Marston, (Centre for Service and Therapy Dogs Australia, Animal Aid, ANDAAT and Monash University), Judy Levron (ANDAAT) Dr. Rick Walduck (Central Animal Records and Veterinarian), Nell Thompson (General Manager Animal Aid representing Animal Welfare), David Mandel (ANDAAT), Lea Cogley (Cogley’s Top Dogs), Anne (Service Dog User) and her valued assistant for their input and assistance to make it all happen.

We really need your support - donations, in kind or volunteer

The vision and concept of ANDDAT began in approximately 2006. The establishment of ANDAAT structure and its registration took over 18 months. However, only now we beginning to realize the enormity of the task ANDAAT have undertaken to accomplish.

Many people and members were involved in the various stages to bring ANDAAT to its current status. In this first short e-Newsletter we thank ANDAAT Board and members of ANDAAT who have dedicated many hours of work on a voluntary basis to help to establish ANDAAT.


We are now facing very exciting, but also challenging times

We need your support....more members, sponsors, ambassadors and volunteers. If you can help, or know someone who may be interested, please contact us (details below).


Important Message

For more information and enquiries you can contact us by email at info@andaat.org.au
Mobile: 0417 363 136 and your enquiry will be directed to the appropriate person