I don’t need therapy. I have a dog!

autism therapy dog

If you’re wondering about getting a dog for your child, if you think it will help, I can tell you in our family, it does. We were told by our psychologist when our son was in the 1st grade, to get a dog.  He said it would help everyone to get along better in the family. It stayed in the back of my mind, but that psychologist was right. Getting a dog was good for our son. It was good for our family.

Getting our dog was unexpected. It was not something we were considering when it happened. We were not thinking about getting a pet. Nevertheless, 5 puppies showed up in our neighborhood one day when our children were little. The puppies were abandoned. I protested as best I could, but my son, daughter and husband were all for keeping one of those dogs. So one puppy came to live with us on that warm September day!

Benefits of a dog: The kids have a companion and playmate who is gentle and loving, never fights with them, and brings them more joy than we ever imagined. He lets the kids hug him as much as they want. He never makes demands, he serves as a pillow for the kid’s heads, he is always ready for fun, and he distracts and supports during drama or meltdowns.

Responsibilities of a dog: He needs to be walked every day. He needs trips to the vet. He poops in the yard, and we need to clean up after him. A dog is a commitment. A dog becomes a member of the family. Long after the “honeymoon” period is over, he still needs to be fed, walked, and cleaned up after, every day.

Is it worth it? I think it is, yes. This is the only pet our family has ever had. I think we’re very lucky. It’s been 14 years, and this lovely canine has made our lives fun and joyous! We are richly blessed with him. There is a reason they call them “Man’s Best Friend!”

Caution: The personality and temperament of the dog is pretty important. These need to match your family and your lifestyle. So take your time deciding on a dog. Maybe even have a trial period to see if everyone gets along. Best of luck to you if you’re getting a dog for your family.

(The title is a joke. Even if you get a dog, you may still need therapy.)