You’ve all seen it, lovely family photos on Facebook, kids cuddled up with the dog, such a perfect family image! Yeah we want a bit of that, long summer afternoon walks, pop by the beer garden on the way back, kids will play on the play area and not fight…… A dog to diffuse meltdowns and cause a distraction, or provide some touch therapy when Alex is feeling low, or a best friend to Max for when his brother is not being nice – lovely !!!!!!
Well we have toyed with the idea for while on whether or not to get an addition to the family, we know somebody locally who is breeding Labradors in the near future, so when my colleague suggested I borrow ‘Murphy’ (a lab/collie cross) to test the waters and see how a dog would fit in to our lifestyle – I jumped at the chance. And after a bit tactful selling of the benefits, Alex and Max were soon on board with the idea too – result!
Murphy arrived on the Tuesday and settled in straight away, such a lovely, happy, obedient dog, playful and loving, and especially friendly with the kids.
It all started off great for the 1st part of the week and both boys couldn’t wait to get home from school to walk him and play with him. ‘Great’ we thought and were more surprised than we had anticipated, and Alex seemed so much calmer, and Max seemed happy and upbeat. It took a bit of getting used to having a living thing constantly making eye contact with you but that was fine.
Until Friday morning …………………..
Disaster struck !!!! Well not quite, unfortunately Murphy had developed the runs over night and had decided to cover most of the Kitchen and Dining Room floor in watery diarrhoea – lucky for me I have nearly lost my sense of smell – however unlucky for me I had to clean it up whilst the rest of the family snoozed in bed – yuck !
Well after nearly 45 minutes of that delightful task, the kitchen was clean and I went to work.
Unfortunately when Alex woke up he suddenly decided he hated the dog and couldn’t cope with the smell, no matter how much we tried to mask it, Alex’s super human sense of smell could still detect it. Oh well maybe he will calm down after school? Oh no, he could still smell it which made him not like Murphy anymore. So much to the point Alex had to go and stay at his Nanny’s house for the night. With this added to the fact Alex no longer wanted to walk Murphy, which was hard if I was at work and he needed walking and then he got one of Murphy’s hairs in his mouth – he was not best pleased and said he hated dogs! Poor Murphy Dog x
Murphy seems to have a poo problem all round, if it’s not the diarrhoea coming out, we’ve caught him with a cat turd in his mouth, and then the other day caught licking up Guinea Pig poo from the run !
Murphy goes home tomorrow, and it has been a lot of fun, but also an invaluable experience to help us decide if a dog does actually fit into our family – and I would recommend anybody test run a dog by borrowing one for a week first. Unfortunately it’s not all it’s cracked up to be (poo and general dog issues aside – I was under no false pretences before hand about these things), but additional pressures put on my son Alex by having the dog were not fair for him or the dog. However that’s not saying a dog wouldn’t necessarily be of benefit to a person with ASD and their family, and dependent on the child’s specific needs therapy dogs can be a lifeline, it’s just not the right time or place for us now.
Bye, bye Murphy – maybe we will borrow you again in future?