Woodie’s sixth annual ‘Heroes’ fundraising campaign
Clever Koda leads Charlotte to new life of happiness and calm
A golden Retriever named Koda has brought calm and happiness to teenager Charlotte Bratu-Breen. Charlotte had a tough time coping with the pressures of living with autism until Koda came along. During her childhood, stress or noisy environments, such as shops, could trigger an overload of her senses and cause Charlotte to experience “a meltdown” which involved her throwing herself helplessly on to the ground, said her father, John Breen (59).
Charlotte (13) also has epilepsy and a learning disability. Her autism meant it could sometimes be difficult to prevent her running off when outside as well as causing other difficulties, said her father.
“I was sometimes at my wits’ end,” he said.
But the lives of Charlotte and parents John and Natalia were transformed last year when they received Koda, a highly trained two-year-old dog from the charity Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland.
Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland is one of four charities to benefit from Woodie’s sixth annual ‘Heroes’ fundraising campaign which begins today and lasts until August 16. Woodie’s colleagues and customers nationwide are invited to make donations in their local stores.
The other charities to benefit this year are Down Syndrome Ireland, Cystic Fibrosis Ireland, and ISPCC Childline.
Donors are invited to get involved in an attempt to walk a combined distance of 384,400km, which is the distance from the earth to the moon, by contributing ”steps”’ in-store or donate online to Woodies Steps.
Photo: Charlotte Bratu-Breen with her autism assistance dog, Koda, at her home in Ballyboden in Dublin. Photo: Steve Humphreys.
Independent.ie – 19 July 2020
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