Getting the dog was a leap of faith for us.  Sam had always hated dogs.   He feared them from childhood.  He had loved them until he was about 2, and then a racing dog leaped over his head at a park, and that was it.

Dogs move too fast, bark too loud, are unpredictable and dangerous.  Nathan followed in his frightened footsteps.  They both cringed whenever a dog was near. 

But I have always believed that a therapy dog might be the right step for Nathan.  He could use cues that don't come from us and don't involve words for calming.  A dog that could keep him from bolting.  A dog that is not a hand on his, but still keeps him safe in a parking lot, a store, on a walk.  He resists our hands, does not like holding them especially when he's the most dangerous, most likely to bolt.  Not that I think that running is what he has in mind.  I think his mind is chaotic and a hand is one more overwhelming input.   But right then is when he most needs imposed safety. 

And I have always had dogs as a child.  I am a dog person.  Dogs love you, sit on you, warm you.  Dogs follow a point, gaze shift, seek your approval.  Whereas cats are the autists of the animal world.  Sensory seeking, approval ignoring.  I have to admit, once we had 3 autistic children, we found our autistic cats superfluous.  When they died within 2 weeks of each other, we were somewhat relieved. 

We went a year without a pet, and I had to admit I am a a pet person.  Even a cat would have been better than being pet-less.

I had kept an ear to the ground, and when a dog came up on Facebook in our county that needed a new home I was interested.  I contacted his owner.  Loves little kids, sweet.  My kind of dog.

We went to meet him.  He was wonderful.  The kids all liked him, not just my hyper, animal-loving Aspie, but the other 2 were willing to be in proximity too.  Good enough.  Paul is not a dog person, but he was willing to put up with him.

So we took him.  A big, furry Alaskan husky mix.  A dog with enough fur for a couple of dogs.

Eventually dog walking became my job.  And I began sharing it with Sam.  Now Sam has graduated to handling his leash and even picking up his poop.  He is much more confident and that confidence has even extended to his horse riding.  On our walks every night we talk about things that we can't talk about in the house.  Tonight we discussed the stars and Jupiter, when you kiss someone and how you decide, and what alternative music is.  He has an amazing fund of knowledge.  He knows Wikipedia's address and isn't afraid to use it!

We are coming up on our 1 year anniversary of Ghost's joining our family.  And I can honestly say he is a great addition to our family.

And now we are applying for a therapy dog.  But whether we get one or not, a dog was the right choice for us at the right time.  I don't think we could have gotten one earlier.  It wouldn't have been fair to our cats, who were set in their ways after 17 years of being only pets.  And our kids weren't ready until now either.  But Ghost is just right for us, right now.  I hope he doesn't mind too much sharing pet status with a working dog.


  1. I recently bought our first ever dog for our family. My son (asd) was a little stressed in the beginning, although it didn't take long for him to get used to having the dog around.... In the last week I got another one... dog that it!! :)
    Good luck with the therapy dog, sounds like such a good idea.


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