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Autism and the Dog Experiment…Part I April 14, 2009

Posted by hopeauthority in Autism, Children, humor, Parenting, special needs.
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Like I don’t already have enough on my plate with all my daughter’s activities and, well, with my little challenge, Fabio and his needs…

…now, there’s a dog in our house.

I’m one of those people who can’t say “no”. I’m also one who speaks first and thinks through later. That’s pretty much how Rodney… the prissy prince of a shit zui… came to live with us on Sunday night for the next 10 days while his owners are in Spain on vacation.

But truth be told, I would happily do anything for our very good friends, George and Rose. They are one of only 3 families that “get it” when it comes to Fabio, his diet, and autism in general. We spent Easter with them and came home with Rodney…and the most beautiful cast iron pot:  gigantic, fancy, French-named, green-painted, two-handled, very heavy, obviously expensive (and totally unnecessary!) “Thank you in advance” gift. I joked at the time that Rodney would actually fit inside if he were bad. I’m not laughing now.

Quick background: Hubby and I raised 5 guide dog puppies before the kids were born. I was the drill sergeant. The dogs were smothered with affection during those “infertility years”, but the competitive nature in me needed them to be the best. To have them succeed. Even when I desperately wanted them to fail so they could stay with us. And succeed they did. So I have Labrador experience. Which apparently counts for nothing when it comes to this pampered little lap dog.

But if I am being honest, I had selfish reasons to undertake this challenge. Yes, I was helping friends. But I could “test drive” the idea of getting a dog. See if Fabio would be good with it. Will he be gentle enough? Will he even be interested? Can I take the dog out to pee without Fabio burning the house down while I step out? Or is it still too soon?

I also can have my daughter earn her “Pet Care” badge for Girl Scouts by taking care of Rodney. She’s been begging me for a dog for years. I blame the economy, but she realizes it’s mostly due to her brother’s autism and my fear of something happening to him when I am outside tending to a dog. I don’t want her to resent him over this.  We’ll see how much she wants one after 10 days of taking care of him.

So, Rodney shits in the kitchen 10 minutes into this experiment. Next day, he does it again just to spite me for daring to leave him alone for an hour or so while I took the kids to the doctor. I know it was spite. He’d gone before we left. Rose’s 10 page instruction manual says he’s a one-dump-a-day dog.  He did that extra load…and walked his long hairy legs and paws through it… on purpose.

Game on, little hairball.

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