Tinkerbell's magic touch
CHARLI Southern has a smile from ear to ear as she cuddles her new puppy Tinkerbell.
The 10-year-old is beaming as she talks about how her puppy can already sit and stay.
But Tinkerbell isn't an ordinary puppy; she'll play a very important role in Charli's life by being her companion day and night.
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Charli has cystic fibrosis, which affects many of the body's systems including the lungs and digestion, which makes day-to-day tasks difficult.
Her mum, Peta, said the puppy will be trained to help Charli with normal tasks like opening and closing doors, picking things up for her and getting help if needed.
But getting the puppy was going to be hard work, until a group of tradesmen heard of Charli's situation and donated money to buy the $1500 puppy for her last month.
On Friday a cake auction was also held to raise money for Tinkerbell's training in the months to come.
"We raised over $1000; and we're going to split the money for training and to support those hit by the cyclone in Vanuatu," Peta said.
"It has been overwhelmingly, I could never imagine that people would help like they did, especially with things like the cyclone going on last month."
For Peta, it's wonderful to see her little girl so happy.
"Charli has a good attitude about it all; she had major spinal surgery in January to straighten her spine and she's already back at school full time," Peta said.
"She barely complains and she is so excited to have her own puppy; she sleeps at the end of Charli's bed.
"It's great for her to have that friend and company."
HOW SUPPORT DOGS HELP
Pick up dropped items
Open and close doors, wardrobes and drawers
Emergency bark if their owner is in danger
Can help with communications difficulties
Offer emotional support
Assist in reducing social isolation