We moved to our new house in 1994 (it’s not very new anymore and everything is breaking, but that’s another story…). I told my sweetie that there would be no more dogs…EVER! The Dog Walker was about 9 months old. I told you part of the Autism Story last week, and when he turned three, Grandma (my grandma, that is) told us he needed a dog. I have always tried to do exactly what Grandma says, but in this case, I really didn’t want to give in.
We were struggling with his diagnosis, trying to take care of a new baby, and there were four older children that already needed our time and attention. My opinion has always been that we were commanded to multiply and replenish the earth…dogs and pets are optional. So after much soul-searching and pleading from all the other kids, I finally relented and we got a ratty looking little mutt who was ceremoniously christened "Klunky." And he was…klunky I mean. He was annoying and yappy and after a couple of months of us putting up with him and him putting up with our little guy, we sent him back to Grandma’s house. I guess she didn’t think much of him either because in less than a week he was running wild outside and got himself hit by a car. My kids were devastated even though the dog was no longer theirs.
|Not an actual picture.|
The first time I brought the subject up with my sweetie the conversation went something like this… "So our sweet autistic son needs to learn to be more responsible," I began. "Why? Because he never does his jobs and his room looks like a tornado hit it?" he chuckled. "No…I think maybe he needs a dog…" Diet Pepsi spurted from his nose as he choked on my answer. After a couple of minutes he finally composed himself. "You’re kidding, right?" He looked at me like I had daisies growing out of my ears. "No…really. A dog," the answer caused me several long moments of pain. This was so not what I wanted.
My sweetie was all over it. He wanted to know what kind, how big, color, gender, everything. Suddenly I was very tired. The next morning I scoured the newspaper looking for a dog that felt right. I wanted a small moppy dog that didn’t poop very big. I finally found one. He was already potty-trained and the family was moving and looking for a nice, stable home. His "mom" brought him over and after inspecting our house and checking the fingernails of each child, she determined that we might be able to take care of her "baby."
|Not Toby, but definably his personality.|
Toby moved in and took over the house! He didn’t like (and I use that term loosely) anybody but me. The kids were terrified of his sharp teeth. When he pinned my sweetie in the closet and wouldn’t let him out until I rescued him, I had to return Toby to his birth parents. We all breathed a sigh of relief. But that nagging little voice just wouldn’t go away… Jump to part three.