Assistance Dogs


At Compass, we understand that early intervention is the most powerful strategy in assisting people with a disability to live life at their full potential. With this in mind, the Compass Assistance Dogs Program was established in 2016.

For seven years, through the work of our specialist in-house team, we raised, trained and placed Assistance Dogs with children with Autism on the Sunshine Coast from the age of just 6 years old. We have countless stories of – within just days – these amazing animals changing the trajectory of these children’s lives, and the lives of their family, FOREVER.

In late 2022, we took a new and exciting step forward and decided to move away from in-house training and accreditation, to partnering with the incredible team at Empower Assistance Dogs, another South East Queensland based Charity.

This partnership will allow us to deliver an even higher standard of quality and service to families in need and to grow our offering, as Empower are solely focused on raising, training and placing dogs as their primary business and have been doing this phenomenal work for over 40 years.

Through the Compass-Empower partnership, we will continue to provide Assistance Dogs to local families and to deliver our revolutionary model of fundraising for our families to cover the cost.

We understand how much of a barrier this cost can be to Australian families, particularly those supporting children and young adults with a disability. We have a number of ways to raise the funds on behalf of families, including our signature Corporate Sponsorship program, as well as Events, our Dollar-A-Day Program and more.

Instead, we have a number of ways to raise the funds on behalf of the families in need. Our signature Corporate Sponsorship program offers naming rights for the puppies to businesses in return for mainstream media opportunities and other valuable promotional activities. We also raise funds through key Events, our Dollar-A-Day Program and more.

All of these initiatives mean that our puppies can be GIFTED to local families in need.

Find out more about our program below!


“We are so incredibly proud to be Assistance Dogs ambassadors, as we have seen first-hand the life changing differences these gorgeous dogs make to the lives of our young local children. We always say dogs make more friends than people because they spend more time wagging their tail and less time wagging their tongue!

We have been Ambassadors since 2019 and we are still blown away every time we meet one of the new pups and feel honoured we are able to watch the dogs be matched with such wonderful children. The success stories would bring anyone to tears.”

“One of our children actually has an Assistance Dog through Compass and he is the most amazing dog you have ever come across”, said Sami. “The first night Major (sponsored and named by the Maroochy RSL) came into our home, our boy slept through the night for the first time in over 7 years. We kept checking them both to check they were okay”, she laughed. “There is not a single day that goes by we do not thank Compass and the team for what they have done for our family and for our son and we are just in total awe of how clever and gentle Major is in our household!”.

We encourage anyone to get involved in supporting the program by donating money or time or fostering a pup. Everyone asks how you can let the dog go after fostering it for 12 months – but while it is hard to let go, when you see the changes they bring to the child’s life, you see all the work and love pays off ten-fold for that local child. It really is the ultimate selfless act and a wonderful gift you can give that will completely change the trajectory of a child’s life!”

Love Todd and Sami xx



Meet Craig, Trainer Extraordinaire from our Partner Training Provider, Empower. Craig has been involved in the dog industry for approximately 40 years!

He initially lived in the USA for 6 months attending a canine college for Professional and Specialist Dog Training. He works with both State and Federal Government programs training environmental detection dogs on world first programs and also teaches Internationally in dog training colleges – both for over 30 years.

His desire to help people took him to the USA to learn to partner assistance dogs with their handlers living with disabilities. He co-founded Empower Assistance Dogs in 2016.

Fun Fact about Craig: He rides 20kms every morning on his bike to remain fit enough to keep up the physical work of training dogs!


Meet Tracey, woman of MANY incredible talents from our Partner Training Provider, Empower.

Tracey has worked alongside Craig for over 30 years in their specialist dog training business.

She has been teaching and lecturing internationally in Japan, New Zealand and UK.  She teaches on the Nationally Accredited ‘Animal Assisted Services Skillset’ to teachers and professionals using therapy dogs within their schools, corporate facilities, and medical & dental practices.

She co-founded Empower Assistance Dogs with Craig in 2016 and is currently the CEO. There’s nothing better than watching the dogs with their handlers as they learn to work together as a team.

Fun Fact about Tracey: She did a live-in practicum at a wolf research facility in 2007 in the USA!