Autistic B.C. teen raises money for guide dog charity through sale of canine cookies – Coast Mountain News
A 14-year-old boy with autism is so passionate about dogs and baking that he is now using his skills to raise money and help support a guide dog.
Ryder Newhouse, who lives in Harrison, has been baking cookies for his unofficial therapy dog, Tommy, and other pooches for two years. But it was only recently that he came up with the idea of selling the cookies and donating to charity.
Before Christmas last year, Ryder was hosted at Fergie’s Doggie Delight pet bakery in Chilliwack as part of Agassiz High School’s Take Our Kids to Work Day, where he baked cookies for dogs on his diary route for Christmas.
Shortly after this experience, he decided he wanted to make and sell dog biscuits with a portion of the proceeds going to BC and Alberta Guide Dogs – specifically to help defray the costs of training a puppy of five. month named Juniper.
Since January, Ryder has been stirring up a storm both at home and at Fergie’s by making “Tommy’s Choice” dog treats named after his furry friend.
Even though Tommy isn’t an official therapy dog, she acts like she always stays by Ryder’s side and gives him comfort. Ryder wants to help other kids get therapy dogs “because some kids can’t see and dogs help them,” he said.
Ryder has been promoting cookie sales at dog parks by handing out his business cards and he wants to sell his product at farmers markets, mom Nicole Newhouse said.
“I love seeing him being able to learn how to run a business because he naturally has that entrepreneurial spirit,” she said.
There are two different flavors of Tommy’s Choice cookies — apple-cinnamon and pumpkin peanut butter — and they cost $9 a pack, with 50% of the proceeds going to Juniper’s training.
The young yellow Labrador lives on Vancouver Island where she is currently trained. According to BC and Alberta Guide Dogs, it takes two years and over $35,000 to produce a certified dog which is provided free to the recipient.
Ryder said he felt “really good” and proud to contribute to the costs, and when asked what was best about cookie making, he responded immediately.
“Raise funds for Juniper,” Ryder said.
So far he has already donated $73 to BC and Alberta Guide Dogs.
Kim Goodall of BC and Alberta Guide Dogs said what Ryder does is generous and caring and she looks forward to meeting him and Tommy in person to thank them.
“Ryder’s decision to support Juniper and dogs like her through her efforts will allow others to benefit from the program, which is kindness in action,” she said. “Ryder’s actions are inspiring and we are honored to be the recipient.”
Connie MacDonald, co-owner of Fergie’s Doggie Delight Pet Bakery, agrees that what Ryder does is wonderful.
“Amazing, absolutely amazing. It brings tears to my eyes,” she said.
Tommy’s Choice dog treats can be purchased at Fergie’s (9372 Mill St.). For more information, call 604-791-9299 or email [email protected]
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