How our dog has changed my Autistic/Aspergers son’s life

We used to have cats. Persian Purebred cats to be exact. My son never really connected to them and in the end we found out he was very allergic to them. But we had made a commitment when we got the two of them so we kept them for their full life time.

Fluffy lived to the age of 19.

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This is Fluffy

Princess to never be out done by Fluffy of course lived to the age of 21 years and 11 1/2 months.

Princess and fluffy

Princess is the white cat

 

They were awesome companions for my family. When the children were little Fluffy got rides in their play shopping cart, swaddled up in a blankee like a baby and carried every where. Princess was the protector. She parked herself outside their doors at night and watched them. She would when they were babies lay on their blanket and watch them.  We got them both when they were 8 weeks old. After the cats passed our family missed them terribly. They were after all part of the family.

 

Fast forward now to August 2011. We have a child with life threatening allergies, so no idea can be decided without allergy testing. This child also happens to by my oldest, he is on the spectrum. Aspergers is not what defines him. Its just what helps others to be compassionate and try to understand where he is coming from. He is an awesome child.

We started allergy testing in September 2011 to see if we could have a dog in the house. After many tests and tears from blood draws and scratch tests we found out we have to have an hypoallergenic breed. So then we looked at sizes. We decided small is best as my son was scared of large dogs at that point. And we traveled alot in our RV at that point.

We started frequenting the pound/shelter. We decided we wanted a dog as young as possible. And we wanted to rescue one. We decided on a Yorkshire Terrier or a small Poodle. It caused many sad feeling every time we left with empty arms. So I told the kids I would just put us on the interest list and quit visiting the shelter.

January 1 2012 we got the call!! They had a Yorkie/Poo (Yorkshire Terrier/Poodle) The perfect mix! So I cancelled all our plans that day and off we went! She was dropped off at the shelter in November 2011 at a mere 8 weeks old and ounces of weight by a breeder. She was housed in an outside concrete cage for the winter. We were unsure of her. She looked too timid, wouldn’t make eye contact, Wouldn’t let us pick her up. And then the most beautiful thing happened. My son with Aspergers sat on the cold damp concrete and this little bundle of fluff walked out of the back corner of his cage right into his lap and set her head down and looked into his eyes. At that point my son said I think shes like me Mom. It was a done deal!
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Love at first sight
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A boy and his best friend

Now people say We’ve “Rescued” Her. I Beg to differ. I feel she rescued us. She is my sons best friend, confidant, protector, at a mere 9 pounds. She is now 2 years old, full grown. She has allergies just like my son. Some of the same items actually! Corn, food coloring, fish, peanut oil. This dog is a perfect addition to our hectic family.

When my son used to come home from school he would be stressed. I had a rice bin with objects in it to comfort him. It worked! Now he comes home you can see the stress dissappear as his pup jumps up at him to be picked up. He bends over picks her up and she buries her head in his neck. Then the kisses start!
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How could you not melt looking into those eyes he has asked me.

Now mind you this is a child that until we got this wonderful pup wouldn’t let you hug him without pulling back against your hug. If you don’t have an Autistic child you will never feel the heart break of that or the missed kisses, being told I love you Mom. He is not my only child. So I know both sides of the coin so to speak.

Well within 6 months of getting this little fur ball he so lovingly called Waffles due to the way she flattens out on the ground this child was 100% different. At first he’d pull away from her kisses. Now he gets upset if she doesn’t have any for him. She is always on him. He takes her everywhere. We have a trailer for the bikes. He straps her in there and off they go.
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Here is his brother and our dog.

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I run a tight ship

I have to. With 3 males in the house. And one of them being an Aspie and another having Autistic like traits. We didn’t continue with testing on that child because he needs no extra support. He’s the straight A child that doesn’t have to work for it.

Then I have my Aspie that works Sooo very hard. Has to work for everything. Has an IEP at school. Is in a peer support group at school that he really enjoys.

Anyway. These children are like a bull in a China house. They run me over and twist the rules. So Since 2004 this house has run on lists and rules.

And it runs great! Occasionally we will have a child slip up. But not often. The children know the rules. They are posted. And the children signed the rules.

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Heart Racing Morning October 29, 2012

Very scary waking moments this morning.

I woke up to this sight

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My pups crate open. At first I thought oh..ok the kids are up?? Then I thought YEA RIGHT! And I screamed wheres the dog?!

No answer or dog running to me. I scream again where is the dog?? Still no answer I go into spare bathroom cat litter box still intact, cat food still in bowl.

Kids trash on floor like usual. I then say hey guys get up!! Where is the puppy?!!!! I found the cat sound asleep.

By now im very scared. Looking in kids bedrooms, up and down hall way, bathrooms, go back to crate to see pup sitting up in crate with a kinda guilty look on her face.

I picked her up sniffed her mouth dont smell cat food. I hope she didnt get into it or we will be at the vet later. I guess she never left her crate.. But honestly I dont believe that for a moment! LOL

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Stay on the sidewalk! October 24, 2012

My sons walk home today was not the usual uneventful trip. It all started with him texting me to say he was on his way.
Within minutes I heard sirens, I live close enough to the school I could tell where they went. I texted son back “everything ok honey?” He responded yes… I think…. No!

That was quite scary. I wanted to get in the car and go get him. Got to the garage when I got a text saying I’m ok in neighborhood. Girl I walk behind on way home everyday got hit by a car.

Fortunately she was ok. They took her to the hospital to make sure. When son walked by they had her sitting on curb with a neck brace on. When he arrived home he said I’m glad my teacher kept me late. I didn’t want to see that.

He spoke about that event for days. He was so happy when he returned to school to see her walking home and know she was ok.
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Waffles is ONE!!

Our yorkie-poo Puppy is now One year old. she is full-grown we are told. But at just 9 pounds she will always be a puppy to us. People say you save an animal from the shelter. I beg to differ. She saved us. She has brought so much happiness to our lives. Shes brought my Child with aspergers out of his shell.

She goes everywhere with us. School drop offs in the morning, camping, grandparents visits. Shes a great addition to our family. Here are some pictures of her first year.

This is the day we brought her home. The first time we met her.

Buying her a harness and leash. My son with Aspergers was holding her. Since the day we brought her home he has not wanted to set her down. This is one pampered pup.

Waffles loves car rides!

Her first time camping. She had a blast. We knew at that moment we fell in love with the perfect pup for us.

Growing up! Shes looking like an adult Yorkie-poo now. She is 7 months old. She loves to nap on my bed.

Bath time! She loves the bath.

Her favorite ball. Loves wiffle balls!

The big day has arrived!! Waffles is ONE YEAR OLD!! 10/1

Here is a picture with her in her Halloween costume.

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What we do to entertain our Autistic children

I saw someone ask today is it rude to bring iPad to church to occupy an autistic child.

No. No it’s not rude. We’ve over the years been through many stages. My Aspie is now 16 1/2 years old. And no it doesn’t go away, or get easier. The older they get the larger the obvious split off their peers becomes.
Imagine it this way. Look at a tree, their peers are the trunk. As these kids age they go off on branches. Still part of the tree just on a different journey than their peers.

As my child has grown and matured the divide has become larger. Boys his age are dating, going to dances, working, driving a car. My son is working, and concentrating on school and Boy Scouts and could careless about getting his driving license..

Boys his age understand proper dating edicate. My son does not. In less than a week he asked out 4 girls. All said no.

When my son was young we brought his leap pad everywhere. No leap pad= major melt down. Then it was the gameboy, iPod, now its his cell phone, iPod, and lanyard or paper to make origami’s or to draw.

It doesn’t go away, it changes and matures with them. I’ve learned to ignore the stares and snarls from outsiders. Until…

Last year at our previous church, it was during the 11 am service. A service that lasts 1 1/2 hours that my son was quietly tearing up his Church bulletin to make origami’s as I forgot his paper. The Usher walked up to him sitting in the pew 2 family members away from me and says to my son “Do you not know you’re at Church?! You are disrespectful! QUIT TEARING THE BULLITIN” At which point my son gets up and walks to bathroom. He returns a bit later obviously shaken by the man.

Well.. When I was my turn for communion and that Usher came to our pew I grabbed the jerk by the hand and let him know ( You are in a Church! Your job is not to judge people! That child you just judged is AUTISTIC, that’s what he does to be able to bear sitting in a noisy, people, loud music,  filled Church! I also let him know he was to NEVER again speak to my child. Speak to me. It was 6 weeks after this even we left that Church. And I’ve never looked back. God Guided us to where we belong.

We have found a Church that accepts my child/children for they are. The Pastor likes my sons origami’s lol and all people in Church know my kids well and love them for who they are and the differences that they have. They also ask me about how the 2 are doing in school, Ieps, Boy Scouts. A completely loving Christian environment.

Moral of story, Never ever let anyone push you around, or make you feel odd about what you as a special needs parent MUST do to make your child comfortable and be able to succeed!

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Autism friendly places?? Nope pet friendly!

Its interesting to go out on the town with your children and your dog.

People are very critical over my autistic son. They say things like: look at me when I speak to you, that behavior isn’t age appropriate, if my child acted like that i’d spank him, they get annoyed by the amout of time it may take for him to order his food. Or to see hes in the way of someone.

Now you go into a store and leave a child out front with the puppy. And store owners say oh the dog can come in. Can I give it a treat?

The world is backwards. You should be more caring of my child than my dog.

Don’t get me wrong I appreciate the kindness of letting the puppy in on a hot day.

But cant you be kind and say nice things to my son on a bad day?

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