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26 February, 2021

The best excuse to pamper your pet

IF there was ever a weekend to pamper your pet, this is it.

By Nicole Gibson

Not only will you be spoiling your furbaby, you will be helping nine-year-old Redlynch boy Bart Stephenson, who suffers from level 2-3 autism, raise $25,000 for an assistance dog to help him safely navigate the world.

This weekend the Cairns and Smithfield Petstock stores are holding a range of fundraising initiatives to help Bart, whose autism causes him to experience high anxiety making simple tasks most people take for granted very challenging.

“At the moment Bart wants to go out and be like the other kids and he wants to be like his big brother Horatio but he can’t do that because his autism holds him back,” said Bart’s mum, Vicy Stephenson.

“As part of his autism Bart doesn’t feel things the way other people do, he doesn’t feel pain, he doesn’t feel when he is too hot, he doesn’t feel his emotions.

“An assistance dog will help him identify what’s a safe environment, help him identify when it’s safe to cross the road, not to touch hot things, not to climb up too high, help him interact with other kids and help him with his anxiety and self-regulation.”

 The family were fundraising privately when they approached Petstock Smithfield to see if they could put a poster up.

Upon meeting with the Smithfield team, they discovered the organisation they are getting the assistance dog from are a Petstock preferred charity.

“Smartpups is our Home State Hero for Petstock Assist so all of the stores in Queensland, all of our donations and round ups go to Smartpups and we thought it would be good to see if we could get something more specific for them being local,” said Petstock Smithfield Store Manager Jonathan Palmer.

“This weekend all of our donations from customers, all of our round ups are going to Smartpups, all of the profits on the weekend from all of our Petstock assist items, so stuff like the tote bags, frisbees, tennis balls, hand sanitiser and stuff like that will be going straight to Bart’s campaign.”

The Lion’s Club will also be holding sausage sizzles at the stores with proceeds from all dog washing services also being donated.

The Cairns stores have already raised $3000 with support for Bart so overwhelming that Petstock Assist announced earlier this week that all stores in Queensland and the Northern Territory would also be participating in the fundraising.

The Lion’s Club will also be a holding sausage sizzle with proceeds from all dog washing services being donated as well.

For more information on how to get involved visit your local Petstock store or Bart’s Facebook page,

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