Family Milestone! We finally got a dog!

I have been wanting to get a dog for the kids for such a long time.  When the kids were little, we simply had the desire but not the finances to take on a dog.  Finding a dog that would be trained for a child with autism was proving to be not only a costly endeavor but also arduous with all the applications and fundraising involved.  I have wanted a type of therapy dog for not only Joshua, but all the children to benefit.  Now, as a single parent, it can still be iffy, financially, but for Christmas this year, I wanted to go ahead and get the kids a dog as we simply had enough “stuff”.  The benefits of a dog, for everyone in the family, makes it quite the worthwhile investment.

After much searching, we finally were able to get the perfect match in a “Rehoming” situation.  We connected through Facebook of all things, thanks to Sarah!  Last Friday, we were able to meet and take home, Sadie, a Blue Heeler/Lab mix who was found as a stray at 4 months of age by the previous owner 4 years ago.  Due to a change in a job and going back to school, Brandi decided that having to be gone 15 hours a day was not good for Sadie and decided to rehome her.  We were thrilled to be chosen as her new family.  Sadie is such a sweet dog, calm and loves to cuddle.  She knows the basic commands and has such a sweet spirit.  She is house trained and the kids and I all just love her.  What is especially neat is she has a Thunder Vest, to help with her anxiety such as when the fireworks go off, for example.  Joshua was quite impressed with that as he also has utilized a Spio Compression Shirt in the past as well as uses ear phones when he is feeling overwhelmed and noises bother him.

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Joshua and Sarah are comforting Sadie on her first night in our house, making her feel at home.

Given Joshua’s previous trauma with a dog when he was almost 4 years of age, a lot of work and care has been taken in not only preparing Joshua for us getting a dog, but finding just the right dog that would be calm and gentle, while also fun for the entire family.  Joshua’s OT, Kerri Lewis, has worked with Joshua with a Golden Retriever puppy she recently got to train as a therapy dog, as well as her other dogs.   Joshua has also worked with his ABA therapists over the years, using social stories and going to the Shelter to look at dogs while in therapy or being encouraged whenever dogs have been around to go slow and pet their backs.  Even our neighbor, who watches Joshua for me on Late Start Mondays, has a little dog and Joshua has, for the past 2 years, gotten to know “Peanut” the little Chihuahua” and was doing so much better with him.  As you can see, he has made a lot of progress and is getting more and more comfortable with dogs.  Starting with owning a calm dog like Sadie is going to help him even more with his confidence.  The experience of owning a dog is going to be so good and healing for all the kids and I’m so grateful for how perfectly matched Sadie is to our family.  We will continue to learn as we go, but once again, God has placed so many friends and family in our lives that can help us along this journey as well!

Joshua and I were talking the other night about the Zones of Regulation in regards to how he was doing with Sadie, as well as to how Sadie was doing.  Enjoy the interchange:

This entry was posted on Sunday, December 18th, 2016 at 2:24 am and is filed under General Autism Info, Sensory Integration Disorder. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

 

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