Smart Pups

Big Dog is proud to be a principal partner and the food supplier of Smart Pups – Australia’s leading provider of assistance dogs to special needs children. Smart Pups aim to enrich each child’s life with highly trained canine companions that improve their physical health and safety, independence, confidence, self-esteem, social interaction, life experience, happiness and wellbeing.

Thank you to everyone who helped us support Smart Pups Assistance Dogs in 2018. With your help, we were able to provide $120,000 in food and donations to this wonderful organisation dedicated to helping children in Australia with special needs. We couldn’t have done it without you!


Social Interaction
Life Experience
Self Esteem



About Smart Pups

Smart Pups was founded in 2011 by Patricia McAlister, a respected Dog Trainer and Behaviourist with 30 years’ experience. Her incredible Smart Pups journey began when asked to train a dog for a child in a wheelchair, Patricia became aware of the need for Assistance Dogs Trainers in Australia and wanted to help.

Since then, Smart Pups has trained and placed over 100 dogs with Australian families in need. Each Smart Pups cost in excess of $25,000 to train and this not-for-profit charity rely heavily on donations to continue the life changing work they do.

The relationship between Big Dog and Smart Pups began in 2016 when Big Dog’s Founder, Owner and Managing Director, Chris Essex, heard a story about a beautiful little girl, Akira, who is autistic and suffers from a rare form of epilepsy, which causes her to have myoclonic seizures. Akira’s mum, Valli, was fundraising for a Smart Pups assistance dog when Chris heard Akira’s story and donated the $25,000 needed to raise and train her assistance dog, Jagger. After seeing the positive impact Jagger has had on Akira’s life, Big Dog has joined with Smart Pups to feed their entire fleet of dogs in training and donate 10c from every Big Dog product sold. Thank you for purchasing a Big Dog product and helping to improve the quality of life for special needs children.

Click here for more information on Smart Pups and the wonderful work they do.

Click here to make a donation to Smart Pups, sponsor, volunteer, or foster.