A smart puppy named Dream is helping Lachlan achieve his potential.
Lachlan Kriedemann has faced his share of challenges in life. He has cerebral palsy, which causes balance and posture issues, while he also suffers from anxiety.
But when he saw a friend a few years ago with a smart puppy – which are specifically trained to meet an individual’s needs – he knew the answer.
Fast-forward to today and his own special pup, Dream, has since become an indispensable member of the Kriedemann family.
“She’s very lovable – she likes playing ball,” says Lachlan. “If I’m on the ground I just say ‘help’ and she gets me off the floor. She also helps me with my anxiety.”
Lachlan’s mum, Kerri-Ann, once had to sleep on his bedroom floor at night to try and manage his anxiety. Now Dream is the one at the foot of his bed.
Dream also accompanies Lachlan to and from school, where the Year 9 student currently holds a position as Junior Leader.
“I have a parade on Monday for it because they haven’t been able to do it due to this COVID stuff,” Lachlan says of his leadership position.
Lachlan’s dad, David, says Dream has made a real difference.
“We used to have a little bit of trouble trying to get into school at times because of his anxiety. Since we’ve got Dream, we haven’t had that problem.”
The Kriedemann family were able to bring Dream into their lives with the support of Equity Trustees, which manages the compensation funds they received due to medical issues arising at Lachlan’s birth.
“Every situation is unique and the dog was actually prescribed for Lachlan by an occupational therapist,” says Equity Trustees National Manager Health and Personal Injury, Katrina Harper, who has a close relationship with the family.
“We supported it and it took about 12 months for Dream to become a reality because they choose a dog for the child, and then train it extensively with a piece of his clothing. And he goes backwards and forwards to meet the dog during that training process.
“We were there at the beginning, waiting for Dream, and now we can look back on that three years later at what Lachlan has achieved.”
Lachlan’s favourite school subjects are woodwork and metal work, and he’s already weighing up his future career choices: a zookeeper at Australia Zoo; a support worker; or a primary school teacher.
“I love animals and I love helping people,” he says.