Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Reality of a Special Needs Child

I finally caved in and wrapped my mind around the notion of getting a dog for the family. On Friday, Carrie had forwarded me a message of the EFFECT Listserve (Lee's Summit Organization of Parents that have Children with Disabilities) from a woman in Independence that had two Jack Russell Terriers they needed to get rid of. After calling the number, a woman explained that she had a 3-year old son with Autism and that these were great dogs. They were crate trained and used to going outside. They were born in August and completely loved kids. So, Carrie and I decided to make the big leap on Sunday and get a new pup. After we came home and let the new dog roam, we started realizing how much attention it needed. From constanting messing up the carpet with poo/pee, and chewing much up, we started feeling like we had a new child in the autism spectrum. And both of us were secretly exhausted and scared by the end of the night. Thankfully, we put out a disclaimer before picking up the dog (we called her 'bella') that we might need to return her. As Monday went forward, we both realized how much work this Jack Russell was going to require and how much time we didin't have to do it. So, to save the sanity of our household and new pooch, we decided to return the dog. The owner was quite gracious and completely understood our situation. Miles and I returned the dog in that cold grocery store parking lot and silently went on with our lives. As I looked into the rear view mirror, I told Miles how much I loved him and that we would try it again later on in life. As he nodded his head in rapid succession, I was happy to have my one delightful autism spectrum child to nurture as we headed home to our quietly hectic reality.

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