I’m looking forward to getting a dog. I don’t know what sort of dog it will turn out to be yet, except that it will be a rescue. I don’t know what size, except that it has to fit comfortably into our house. I don’t know what colour or what markings it will have, except that it is to look kind and sweet, so that my children will feel a rush of love for it and have a bond from the start.
I have plans for this dog. It will be my companion during the day, it will get me out into the fresh air, it will no doubt make us many many new friends on our walks in all weather. It will sleep in my office when I am working, and probably on our bed at night. I have spent many a happy hour (yes, hour) window-shopping for leads, collars, harness, bed, toys… Who knew how much equipment is available for a little canine! Better said, for the little canine’s human of course. The preparation and gathering of ‘stuff’ is part of the excitement for me.
If this dog is friendly and sweet, I intend to take it to old people’s homes to be a befriender, or to school to be a reading-helper dog. If this dog isn’t quite that friendly, as it will no doubt come with a past history we will never fully know the details of, then I will nurture it to confidence and help it feel loved and safe and take every small progress as a massive achievement.
For the last two years, since my son’s autism diagnosis, I have immersed myself in literature on autism, I have attended workshops and training sessions and watched YouTube videos, read blogs, humorous articles and serious books on the subject.
But now I am feeling saturated with information. I don’t want to read another article or another depressing blog or another update on funding cuts of support for the most needy. I want to concentrate on dog leads and quirky canines looking out from my computer screen. I want to look forward to my own dog, wondering which one will choose us.
And before my dog has even been found or before it has even arrived home, it turns out that this dog has already fulfilled its most important role, to distract me from problems and worries, and give me perspective and welcome comfort.