ON A MISSION: Darren and Erin Rayner are trying to raise enough money to get their son Maximus, who suffers from autism, a Smart Pup (photo: Amy Lyne).
ON A MISSION: Darren and Erin Rayner are trying to raise enough money to get their son Maximus, who suffers from autism, a Smart Pup (photo: Amy Lyne).

Pup a smart solution for Max

MAXIMUS Rayner is an escape artist, much to the dismay of parents, Darren and Erin. Four-year-old Maximus suffers from an extreme severity of high-functioning autism. Every chance he gets, he attempts to escape his Laidley home.

His parents, who have two other young children, hardly sleep because they need to keep an eye on Maximus through the night.

A few weeks ago, Darren and Erin signed up for Smart Pups, which trains assistance dogs for special needs children.

In eight weeks, the family must raise $2500 to get an extra pair of eyes for their son. Mr Rayner said they would do anything for their son but at the moment were fighting an uphill battle.

"We are beside ourselves on who to turn to next," he said.

He has spent countless hours calling around 1000 businesses in the hopes of any donations they could provide for a cent auction he wants to have as a fundraiser.

"We want to get some local businesses involved, with all the proceeds going to Max," he said.

Photographer Erin is also offering her services, with all her profits going to her son.

In total the family will have to pay $15,000 in the next 15 to 18 months to secure a Smart Pup.

Having an assistance dog would enable Maximus to attend mainstream school at Laidley State School.

"They are excited and are working with  us," Mr Rayner said.

Mr Rayner said with his escaping tendencies Max would be unable to attend a mainstream school but a pup would allow it as he would be tethered to the dog at all times, acting as a dead weight.

Maximus was three when he was first diagnosed.

Mr Rayner said the best way to intervene was in the developing years.

"Given the right tools he can be put in mainstream life," he said.

If you can offer any assistance to the family, contact Darren on 0416 840 122 or visit their Facebook page, Autism Assistance Dog for Maximus. See Gatton Star online for more.


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