Thursday, January 20, 2011

Our trusty assistant...

Today, I spent the day away from Billy, which is odd enough in itself.

I spent the day with number two son, Scruffy, shooting a dog food commercial. And, for the record, he rocked. There's something genuinely spooky about this dog. He seems to be able to understand human talk,  to be able to sift through people's crap and pick the best of it, and to be an awesome judge of character.

I could seriously learn a lot from him.

The interesting thing about today was that people were keen to talk about Scruffy. Lots of the other dogs were show dogs, and show dogs are not the most affable of dogs. They've got their eyes on the prize. Scruffy, on the other hand, is the definition of affable and his prize is pats and other forms of affection.

So as he introduced himself to anyone and everyone, the two legged folk would ask me questions about why my dog was so deeply calm and lovely. And I could tell them a great story.

I told them that Scruffy was the reason why my son was able to talk to kids. That before we got Scruffy, Billy hung around the edges of his pre-school classroom with his hands over his ears. That before Billy and Scruffy became a team, Billy only spoke to us, his therapists and a couple of family members. That Scruffy brought chaos and excitement and non-verbal, unconditional peer attachment into Billy's life and since then, he has never looked back.

What I didn't say, because unless you are us (or maybe you) it's total TMI, is that Scruffy arrived in our house on the very same day that a multi-disciplinary team announced on official looking paper that Billy did indeed meet the criteria for Autistic Disorder. Scruffy's soft paws and floaty bunnies of shedded fur entered our lives on the day that we felt the most lost as parents. He didn't give us a chance to wallow, because he had sticks to destroy, stuffed animals to eviscerate and balls (thrown by a dutiful Billy) to retrieve.

He knew, from the moment he arrived, that he had a job. His job was to be a professional buddy, a 24/7 player, a human in a dog suit for a boy who couldn't handle the humans in human suits.

It's hard to remember how lost we felt on that day three years ago, when Scruffy came into our lives, because, seriously, we are extremely lucky people.

We have each other. We have the world's loveliest child. And we have a giant ball of therapy (for all of us) called Scruffy.

Today, I was proud on his behalf, and proud on my own behalf.

He is a cracker of a dog, and it's not just us who think that.

There are a couple of show dogs who aren't so convinced, but truly, they're missing out.


Anonymous said...

i loved this Val and not just because I loooove dogs :) No I love it because you got some much needed, long over due "Val time" you are such an awesome parent. Cant wait to see that commercial :)

Anonymous said...

Any kid who doesn't grow up with a dog is missing out. Doubly so, kids who aren't into people.

Mama Deb said...

Ahh, some dogs are so special indeed.
Sydney had that *thing* with M, too. Unfortunately, he lost the ability to bond back with her along with his words and other abilities we seemed to have left back in Texas.
Scruffy sounds so completely loveable!