startedinnc

This blog is about a family of two loving parents, two sister schnauzers, a persian, and a very loved young man who faces severe autism daily, sometimes better than others. We will relive the lows, laughs, and joys of our "normal" life. Always under the hand of God.


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And All Creation Will Praise Him

 

Wilson

Wilson and Polly, dogs and cats, living together.

This week I got to learn a little bit about the bonds we have with our pets and about what one goes through during the grieving process. We had to put our cat Wilson to sleep. It’s tough to understand the attachment you can have with an animal: a dog, a cat, a bunny, a horse. And some people don’t see it and that’s okay. To some, a dog is a dog. But to me, each dog is different and, when you get to know them you realize you can know and connect with them, it’s special.

Wilson was one of those cats with a large dose of looks and personality. When you first saw him you would notice his big head and eyes. He was beautiful. But he was also very social and preferred to sit out here with us.

I like to talk to animals. Is it me projecting my thoughts on them? Probably. But it’s still neat and a good way to get your thoughts out. Wilson had a way of looking at you and sticking just the tip of his little tongue out that made you think he understood and connected with you.

Wilson wanting to talk.

Wilson wanting to talk.

 

Tuesday, after losing Wilson, I waited for my wife and our dogs to go to sleep (They sleep with us.) and snuck out onto the porch for a few minutes. I needed time to grieve and let the tears out. I heard one bark at our door, then another. Polly, our gray miniature schnauzer had followed me and when I let her on the porch, she just sat beside me like she knew I needed some space. A little later, the door opened and out came her little sister who jumped in my lap to be petted. So much for sneaking out.

Am I animal crazy? I get and appreciate the relationships we can have with them.

Or am I just crazy? It has hurt to lose Wilson. But I’ve enjoyed him and our two dogs more than I can ever say. I think our animals are a gift from God and the relationships we have with them can help us know Him. After all He made them and He gives them to us and gave us Authority over them.  He also knows what we are going through and that our pets can help by being a source of unmerited love for us.

And if we choose to think of them as just dumb animals, that will cause us to lose so much, to be a little less. I prefer to look for the Jesus in them (God made them after all and they are also looking for His return {all creation}) and talk to them about Him. All creation will worship Him. Including Wilson’s little meow.

When we first got Wilson he was shaved. I said whoever did that to him should be shot.


Wilson shaved

 

I’ve also learned some things about grieving. One, I can’t cry worth a flip. My face just scrooches up, my eyes close and water, and then I can’t breathe. You can’t do that for long. I can see how grief can kill someone with a weak heart.

Also, you can’t control it. It goes away then it comes back when you don’t expect it. I had learned that lesson before but forgot it.

If grieving is a part of love, it stinks, but love is so worth it. My cat and I had a great time. It was fun to search for him when he was able to get around. And to look down at his face when he sat on my chest. But not the tuna breath.

Third, as a writer, I have to leave myself open to feeling life so I can let my characters feel. Life can hurt, but also what joys and excitements it can give. God plans and controls all of this. He knows and loves each of us and it’s fun to discover Him a little more each day.

Even when it comes in a Wilson. Psalms 148.

 

 

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Not My Daddy’s Household

One of the amazing things about Madison is that he is able to listen to or follow several things at one time.
Personally, I have a one track mind. When I get involved in something, I can often lose track of things around me. My attention is on that one thing.

Not so with Madison. I went back to his room last night and he was sitting on his bed watching two TVs that he had synced the CDs on so that they played that same spot on the videos at the same time. He also had the piano playing a rhythm that he likes. And he had his I-Pad in his lap playing a YouTube video. And he was in charge of all of it.

This is nothing new. He has done this since he was little. He has had four TVs going all at the same time. But also in three different rooms. He was sitting in the front room so I turned the TV off in his room in the back. He immediately recognized it and said, “TV, TV.” He wanted it back on.

Now, I thought about my daddy who always made us turn off the TV or lights before we left the room. Things are a little different in our household.

Madison is a sixteen year old boy who is on the severe side of the autism spectrum. He never ceases to amaze his dad with his activities. His dad is learning to not ask why, but to enjoy the little boy/young man that he has.


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A Day at a Dog Show

Ralphie

A Saint Bernard or the world’s best babysitter

I’m currently writing a fiction book about a young boy with autism. One of the heroes happens to be a Saint Bernard. I just love them. If you’ve ever met one, you know they just have a regal bearing and such a peaceful temperament. They have great coloring. And they are soooo big, large, huge, gigantic. I mean really big. They are often between 180 and 200 pounds or more.
No, I do not have one. My dogs are about twenty pounds. Now the small one thinks she is much bigger. Can you say Napoleon complex? I don’t think my chair can handle both me and a Saint Bernard.
Vickie and I went to the dog show last weekend in Greenville. We love going and look forward to it each year. It is fun to see so many breeds of dogs and realize how different they are. We don’t really watch the show, but we walk around and look at the dogs standing on their tables being groomed or just walking around. You may see a Bulldog, a Poodle, we had three Miniature Schnauzers standing on their table in the three different styles; black, salt and pepper, and black and silver. You see the fat dogs Mastiffs, Pugs, and then you see the skinny dogs; Grayhound, Saluki, Italian Grayhound. The ones whose skin don’t fit like the Bloodhound, the Shar Pei, and the Mastiff.
You see the little dogs who have to be carried like the French Bulldog, the  Yorkie, and the Chihuahua. The big dogs who should carry you; Great Pyranees, Newfoundlands, and Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. Or do you just want tall dogs with long legs like the Irish Wolfhound,the Scottish Deerhound, and the Great Dane. And the groovy breeds with the dreadlocks: the Pulis and the Commodores. And then you have the naked dogs, the hairless: Chinese Crested, Xolo, and the American Hairless.
Have I mentioned colors? It is funny to see the Rottweiler, the Doberman Pinscher and Miniature Pinscher with the same coloring but very different sizes and shapes. And you need to see a min pin prance. Their legs looking like some kind of strange parade walk.
So, is a dog just a dog? A dog show would show you that isn’t exactly true.
I was fortunate to talk with some ladies who were working with their Saint Bernards. The first day the lady told me about CHAPS (Canine Helping Autism and PTSD Survivors). They matchup people with autism and PTSD with service dogs, mainly Saint Bernards. They say the dispositions of the dogs are suited to this work.
The second lady I saw at the show said her dog, and he is big, is a great babysitter. When her daughter was just a baby, she would put her on the couch and when she started stirring, “Ralphie”, would come and get her. He would watch her kids play and if the toddler started walking to the pool, he would get between her and the pool and keep her away. Like a herding dog, a big herding dog.
But one of the stories I like to hear is they will go shopping and strap the child to the dog. If the child starts to wander off, the dog is trained to lie down. That will stop even an adult, a 200 pound anchor.
Service dogs come in many sizes and they have different talents and abilities. With an autistic child, they may be the key that helps to open the child’s voice or help them be more outgoing. As a parent, I’ll take all the help I can get.