Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Consummate Professional

This post is dedicated to one particular individual who has been integral in support of Jason's comfort and development.
There are many contributors, to be sure, but some just have a natural flair, a knack, for total acceptance of Jason's quirks and foibles. This is a characteristic many of us aspire to, but that few of us (owing to our preconceptions and established world-views) achieve.
If the family is going somewhere, this person waits patiently and without urgency if Jason is taking a particularly long time.
If Jason needs someone who will hang around with him but not expect too much in the way of conversation, this is the guy who will do it.
If Lisa and I leave Jason outside alone and out of sight for a little while, he always volunteers to help keep an eye on him.
If Jason wants to be silly and run around, or maybe play a game of "monster tag", he is always a willing participant.

And all he asks in return for all of these hours of devotion is .... dinner. And a scratch behind the ears. You see, this individual I am referring to is Chance, the Amazingly Rotund Dog. Chance is 7 years old, yet displays the wisdom of an elder when it comes to meeting the needs of our little boys. He tips the scales at around 105+ pounds - that's a lot of love truckin' around our house on a daily basis.

"There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face."
-Ben Williams

Here is Chance in his natural habitat:

...his version of Autism "Support" Services:

...providing a shoulder to lean on:

...prepping the yard for a stimulating session of OT:

...coordinating with co-worker Smudge on a session of Floortime Therapy:

"Intelligent dogs rarely want to please people whom they do not respect."

-W.R. Koehler


Another Autism Mom said...

What a cool dog. And your kids are gorgeous.

Steve D said...

Thanks autism mom!

Estee Klar-Wolfond said...

Very sweet. We also got a dog who is a little young and rumbuctious (5 months old now), for Adam. Pure unconditional love.

Anonymous said...

Steve, have you looked into getting an "autism service dog"? My wife and I are now looking into it for our 4 year old spectrum son. He loves animals, and a service dog supposedly will keep track of him, and be a constant companion which will help keep him calm. Let me know your thoughts...
Terry H.

Steve D said...

Terry -
Yes, we have thought about it. But we have decided not to do it for the following reasons:
First, we have some experience in raising dogs, and we have the yard to accommodate just about any (rational) dog there is, so our potential "hiring" pool is broader than most.
Which leads to the second reason - There are a limited number fo dogs available, and we feel those that are should go to a) the most needy child (my son is not as significantly affected by autism as many other children are) and b) the family with the most need (who may not have the tools to get their child a pet in any other way when considering training issues).

We also are concerned about a one-to-one attachment as opposed to a whole-family attachment, as we have two other sons. With our luck, we'd end up with a personal dog and cat for each child :)