Service Dogs

Yesterday I spent all day agonizing over service dogs. The psychologist has been ready to hand me a medical necessity note for over a year. She really wants my son to have a dog or a cat, but I haven’t time to train or care for much larger than a canary. I am not home enough, and when I am, I am really busy. It would not be fair.
I was looking up therapies like horse (I have to apply for that for both boys) therapy and just seeing what other animal therapy was out there when I came across autism assist dogs. I did not know there was such a thing. This is the last year that my son can apply for a service dog. Here there is an age limit. I read everything on it, thought about my son, and decided that the training was not really pertinent to him, he is not so bad off and those dogs should go to people who truly need them beyond a doubt.
I pick him up at daycare and the teacher takes me aside and tells me he hit her. Not his usual MO. I get him home and explain he has lost his computer privilege because of it and he threw a fit for forty five minutes. No one got hurt, I have seen far worse fits, but I am going to turn in the application for the dog. I probably will not get approved, I am sure most do not. The wait is two years. If he no longer needs assistance at that time, then great. But right now he can use all the help he can get. I should not discount any method. If I don’t gather resources for him, who will?


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8 responses to “Service Dogs

  1. We got a cat. He is amazing with my daughter. When she has a fit and screams he actually works to comfort her, when I would expect him to run. He sleeps next to her or me–depending on who’s had the worst day–and if something happens that he thinks might be threatening to her (loud noise in the house, etc), he checks on her. I never would have thought a cat would put up with her manhandling and noise, except that they had a therapy cat in a group home I had clients in a few years ago. It was for teens with behavior issues and mental illness and that cat acted the same way as ours around those kids. There was no special training–I don’t think they have that for cats. I just kept taking my daughter to the humane society. I told her we were visiting the cats so there was no expectation of taking one home. Age was one consideration–I just had them show us younger cats, because I didn’t want to deal with one passing away at her age. There’s just no way I could relay that concept to her right now. Anyways, they have visiting rooms and I just had them bring us likely candidates, and he was the one that kept purring and climbing into her lap even though she was having a screaming melt-down. Sort of a kitty litmus test?

    • Your testimony certainly changes the game! I never thought a cat would do that!

      • Chris

        Cats are *so* different in personality. At least as much as people. Find the right cat for your children, and they will have the best friend they could possibly have! A scenario where you could socialize with the cats as described and find the perfect companion would be ideal. And be patient! Maybe you’ll have to look at a hundred 🙂

      • Yes, that did sound like a fantastic litmus test!

  2. CrazyHairMom

    You would be amazed what animals can do. We have a mini farm now.

    I had a trained dog that frequently stopped my son from running out of the yard and warned us if anything was going on. He was not trained for autism specifically but he was a huge life saver. He belonged to a neighbors boy and when that kid grew up he just started showing up in our yard til the neighbor came and told us we could keep him. He said he needed the kids to look after bc it was all he knew to do. I never had to worry about anything when that dog was around. He was driven to love us, protect us, and be there for us. He was even friends with all the farm animals.

    Horse back riding was great for a while. My son could be lead around all day. I dont know if it is just that the motion is relaxing or what exactly. But it did help. He would just be more relaxed afterwards and happy. Almost like he was high on life. Bonus- his horse is as goofy as he is and smiles when she is happy or pleased.

    Just touching animals and petting them seems to help. He talks to them like they are people and pets them. And sometimes I hear him telling the cat stories at night. He has been talking to this cat for 10 years now. In the beginning it was just noises and sounds and as he learned to talk their conversations got longer and longer. But for some reason this cat just seemed to understand him. It has taught him to be gentle. It has also taught him to have a relationship/friendship. Just having a pet makes a difference. A fully trained service pet would be great.

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