Michael & Fizz’s Story – The Advantage Family


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Meet Michael and Fizz.

Michael competed for Australia in Triathlon until he was hit by a truck and woke up a quadriplegic.

After nearly eight months in hospital and four years waiting for an assistance dog, in came Fizz – a bounding, exuberant Labrador.

Watch how Fizz brings laughter, fun and happiness back into Michael’s life, helps him regain his independence and strengthens the special bond with his daughter.

You can see more inspiring stories featuring real life dog, cat and pet parents just like you, as well as helpful how-to videos on pet nutrition and pet conditions, on The Advantage Family YouTube Channel – your furry friend online.

What’s more, we understand the importance of having information at hand, so visit http://theadvantagefamily.com.au for all things ‘pet’ and like our Friends Furever Facebook Page for exclusive promotions.

Maybe we can become even better friends?

Michael: I competed for Australia in 2002 and 2003. I was a triathlete and also a cyclist, I’d always aspire to be the best that I could be, you get that feeling of my body shouldn’t be able to do this but it is, that was the buzz that I got from it. The day of my accident I went out for a training ride and I was on my way home and as I was coming up a rise I was struck just on my right arm by a truck that was coming past that was too close and I was then out of control and thrown into the back of a parked four wheel drive. Then woke up 12 days later in hospital having had a number of operations and was told I was a quadriplegic. It’s too big a moment to take in and process and I can still remember mouthing the words what happened. The doctors told me I wouldn’t eat or breathe myself again, and I was told I wouldn’t walk again and wouldn’t be able to move myself around in a wheelchair myself again. So very confronting, it was a total of about seven and a half months before I was out of hospital after the accident, so it’s a long and lengthy process but I think once you leave hospital, that’s really when it starts. The biggest and most difficult adjustment for me to make was that I was obviously a very physically active person and whilst that’s what I did it was also the way that I interacted with my daughter, so taking her swimming, taking her to the park, just playing with her generally I had to completely change the way that I played and interacted with at the time, my three and a half, four year old daughter. It was about six months after I was out of hospital that I sat down with my daughter and we put together an application to get an assistance dog. In my instance I waited over four years before I received a phone call to say my application had been successful and I think we waited a week after receiving the initial call. Fizz came down with a trainer and we had our initial meeting. He’s an incredibly athletic, bounding exuberant, well-trained dog. The biggest thing that an assistance dog can help you with when you’re in a wheelchair and your hands don’t work particularly well is picking things up. Anything that I point to that’s in the road of the wheelchair I can ask him o pick it up and pass it to me so it’s not in the road anymore, but the number one thing that he’s very helpful for is my crutches. I can walk with the aid of crutches but I can’t often reach them and pick them up but he can pass them to me so I can stand straight up and walk. He even jumps up and grabs them when they’re standing up now which I think is quite impressive. The comfort and the layer of surety of having an assistance dog provides over the top of the way I’m living is incredible. I’d hate to lose that now and certainly he’s provided for me a level of independence that I otherwise wouldn’t have. The arrival of fizz in our family has been a godsend. Since his arrival the joy, the happiness, the laughter, the fun games we’ve been able to play where we included a dog in them is wonderful. But certainly the relationship I have with my daughter again with the arrival of Fizz is wonderful.

Josh & Lucky’ Story – The Advantage Family


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Meet Josh and Lucky.

After ten years in the army and two tours of Afghanistan, Josh returned home and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Sensitive to loud noises and struggling with depression, Josh’s wife found him a mental health assistance dog named Lucky.

Watch how Lucky’s licks and barks help give Josh the freedom to leave the house, step back into the community and renew his sense of self worth.

You can see more inspiring stories featuring real life dog, cat and pet parents just like you, as well as helpful how-to videos on pet nutrition and pet conditions, on The Advantage Family YouTube Channel – your furry friend online.

What’s more, we understand the importance of having information at hand, so visit http://theadvantagefamily.com.au for all things ‘pet’ and like our Friends Furever Facebook Page for exclusive promotions.

Maybe we can become even better friends?

Josh: At the age of 21 I enlisted in the army. I saw it as a stable career option. I did two full deployments to Afghanistan. My time in Afghanistan was very rewarding but very challenging at the same time. When I got back from the deployments I knew I was struggling, there’s a lot of things there that you wish you could never see, I still see those things in my head day in and day out. I’m very sensitive to loud noises all of a sudden, which makes it really hard when you have two children. I served in the army for just shy of ten years, unfortunately I was diagnosed with Post traumatic stress disorder and major depression.

Josh’s wife: The main thing that led to his diagnosis was he was really starting to withdraw socially. Josh would take me to work and come home and go to bed and that’s where he would stay. He would stay there all day until it was time to pick me up from work.

Josh: It was quite challenging because I didn’t want to go anywhere, didn’t want to do anything, I’d be a crumbling mess at home. I got help and I thought straight away I’d be back into work, but I didn’t and the journey continued on, ended up in hospital a few times and that’s when I realized that this journey with PTSD and depression – I needed to take every measure I could to get better for my family’s sake and myself I suppose. That’s when my wife contacted young diggers, the organistation that trained lucky. So a mental health assistance dog like lucky his primary role is just to be by your side twenty four seven. Lucky understand my body language, I’ve worked hard with him to help get me out of that depressed state. He’ll come and lick my face and bark and try and calm me down and we’ll go outside and throw the ball and it helps change my mindset and get me away from the negative thoughts that come in all the time.

Josh’s wife: Now he’ll take me to work. Him and lucky go wandering through the town and go visit everybody, he goes has coffee and things like that. So lucky has given josh the freedom to leave the house basically.

Josh: Our bond grows everyday and having him by my side has given me that opportunity to step back out into the community and be involved in the community again, which has given me a sense of self worth. Life with lucky now, in our little town – is amazing

Camille & Gatsby’s Story – The Advantage Family


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Meet Camille and Gatsby.

After a challenging time trying to fall pregnant, Camille was feeling low – until her husband gave her a tiny white French Bulldog named Gatsby.

The connection was immediate and the two developed a bond that gave Camille the strength and confidence to start her IVF journey.

Watch how Camille learns the importance of healing from her “first child” Gatsby, who she says helped create their little family unit with lots of cuddles in her lap at night.

You can see more inspiring stories featuring real life dog, cat and pet parents just like you, as well as helpful how-to videos on pet nutrition and pet conditions, on The Advantage Family YouTube Channel – your furry friend online.

What’s more, we understand the importance of having information at hand, so visit http://theadvantagefamily.com.au for all things ‘pet’ and like our Friends Furever Facebook Page for exclusive promotions.

Maybe we can become even better friends?

Camille: My husband and I two years ago decided to start trying for a baby and we had a bit of a challenging time. I had a couple of miscarriages. At that point I was feeling pretty low, so I was at home sitting on the couch and my husband walked through the door with this tiny white French bulldog. The connection with Gatsby and I was definitely instantaneous, I just loved him from the minute I laid eyes on him and we really develop da bond together. I think because we did have some challenges along the way, Gatsby really gave us the confidence to start the IVF journey. I think there’s something very healing about a dog, and I think you get to that point where you’re so worked up about it that you’re almost working against yourself, particularly in those early months of IVF. He used to sit next to me while I was doing my needles and cuddle into my lap at night and probably the most amazing thing was that when I did fall pregnant, Gatsby, he changed, he changed towards me. He would never leave my side, he insisted on sitting in my lap and being around me. Because the journey that we had was challenging, it’s almost so much sweeter now that we have that family unit. Gatsby I think taught me really how to care for someone that’s dependent on you. Gatsby loves his little baby sister, he’s very protective of her, he likes to be in the same room with her at all times. Gatsby has been very important to both of us in terms of the healing from the challenged we faced when we were trying to fall pregnant. I love this dog so much and he’s brought me so much and I really feel like he helped create out little family

Fiona, Winnie & Angel’s Story – The Advantage Family


Subscribe to The Advantage Family YouTube Channel for entertaining and informative dog, cat and pet parent stories, and helpful pet care how-to videos.

Meet Fiona, Winnie and Angel.

Fiona is an artist who loves painting landscapes and marinescapes. She also loves her two dogs – Winnie and Angel – and the three share an amazing bond.

When Fiona began to feel lethargic for no reason, Winnie and Angel started to behave strangely and honed in on her abdomen. They could literally “smell” something was wrong.

See how Fiona flourishes after nine months of chemotherapy thanks to Winnie and Angel’s ability to detect her cancer and then motivate her to fight for her life.

You can see more inspiring stories featuring real life dog, cat and pet parents just like you, as well as helpful how-to videos on pet nutrition and pet conditions, on The Advantage Family YouTube Channel – your furry friend online.

What’s more, we understand the importance of having information at hand, so visit http://theadvantagefamily.com.au for all things ‘pet’ and like our Friends Furever Facebook Page for exclusive promotions.

Maybe we can become even better friends?

Fiona: I’m an artist and what I do is landscapes and roomscapes. I’m working really hard to be an artist along the shoal haven coastline. I have two dogs, Winnie and Angel – we know each other in and out, it’s like having an extension of yourself actually. In 2012 I have my own business here in Mollymook and I got home and I just thought I was tired, and the dogs though started to behave really strangely. Angel was like Tarzan grip to my side and Winnie as just very vocal and they were just honing into one area, which was my stomach, my abdomen. It was that prompt of them acting over the top, went to the GP and just had a normal checkup and they found out I had ovarian cancer. The thing about ovarian cancer, it’s really hard to detect and usually when it’s diagnosed it’s too late, you’re a stage four. There’s something about dogs and their relationship with people and I’m living proof that they smell cancer. I don’t think I’d be sitting here, well I wouldn’t be sitting here today telling you this story, I’d be dead actually, I would have died of ovarian cancer. Then I had to go to hospital, I was very ill after the operation, and I had nine months of chemotherapy, and it’s accumulative so I got sicker and sicker and sicker. I was very fortunate because you can fester and stay in bed, rightly so because you need a lot of rest but you get incredibly lethargic but the joy of having two animals who just love you and they take your mind off it, it was just a blessing, it was just wonderful. So what we’d do everyday, we’d go to the beach and play ball and they’d get me motivated and get me up and going. They were my life, they were my lifeline and my therapy and when you’re down, just that big big happy face and those big brown eyes it get through a lot, especially when you think you’re going to die, especially when you’re thinking is this it, am I going to go. I’m here, absolutely, a best friend ever. The story is, and the conclusion is that they saved my life. There is no way I would be here, they are just my shadow and my sunshine

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