The new arrival

I am not a doggie person. My husband is not a doggie person. And yet, yesterday, we brought home a puppy. Leo the Labradoodle.

We have read that dogs are supposedly good for children with autistic spectrum disorders and so, putting our own lack of need for a furry friend to one side, we searched for an allergy-friendly pup (as my husband is allergic) and Leo is who we found.

Leo
Leo the Labradoodle

He has taken to his crate and dog bed as if it had been his from birth. He is already asking to be let out for his business and the boys have fallen in love with him, as have we. Son2, however, is not so keen yet on actually touching him and every time he does, carefully washes his hands immediately afterwards. Having a dog has made no difference however, to Son1's hand-washing habits, or lack thereof.

All of a sudden, Son1 & Son2 have become puppy experts, telling us what to do and how to do it. They have already spent much less time in front of the TV and used less computer time as they check on their charge and ensure he has everything he needs. This is actually not too much as he sleeps a lot of the time at the moment.

Neither child has taken the opportunity to scoop the poop yet, but it will only be a matter of time and when he is big enough to go for walks, this is Son1's department as he is rather like a puppy himself and needs walking every day.

I have taken to heart The Dog Whisperer's advice that you must be pack leader to be in charge of your pooch and I have decided that this is the same for raising boys too, even those with Asperger's, if not more so. I think this whole dog thing is going to work rather nicely.

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Tania Tirraoro

Founder, CEO at Special Needs Jungle
Founder of Special Needs Jungle. Parent of two young adults with autism. Tania is a member of the Whole School SEND Expert Reference Group for SEND Leadership, the Ofsted SEND Inspections Stakeholders Group, and sits on the Advisory Board of the Royal Holloway, University of London Centre of Gene and Cell Therapy.
She is also an experienced broadcast and print journalist & author. Tania also runs a PR, web & social media consultancy, SocialOro Media. She is a Rare Disease & chronic pain patient advocate with Ehlers Danlos syndrome.
Tania Tirraoro
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