Monday, February 6, 2017


Good afternoon!

Pets are a common part of most households.  They can be delightful company to their humans, and become valuable members of the family.  When the right animal is with the right family it can be a beautiful thing.

Pet ownership is also a tremendous responsibility as any pet owner understands.  They have to have their own individual love and attention, as well as all of the typical needs such as food, grooming, and medical care.  There is definitely a financial impact to all of these things too.  Any family considering a pet should consider things like budget, family dynamic, time at home, and living space.  

Individuals with special needs can respond very well to pets.  The pets can become a source of comfort for a special person.  There are many, many stories of animals who help reach those people in ways that no human ever could.

We also have to consider the cautionary tales as well.  Often the link between the person and the animal is not perfect.  The animal could actually become a victim of aggression.  If the animal is being mentally or physically abused it could cause aggression by the animal as well.  

In our experience we chose dogs which had some specific qualities.  We wanted a dog that would be small and not likely to impose on Tyler's space.  We also wanted a dog that would be sturdy and solid versus one that was frail in case he would accidentally or purposely make physical contact with them.  We looked for a dog that would be less likely to cause a bite in case there was a serious problem.  Once we knew these criteria we decided that the Pug would be our preferred breed.

Tyler grew up much of his life with "Abby" and "Jack".  Both dogs learned quickly that if they left Tyler alone, he generally left them alone.  This was not the warm and fuzzy arrangement we would dream of, it was more of a co-existence.  When Tyler became upset he did try to hit the dogs and they would scatter for higher ground.  But there were also times that he would spontaneously walk over to the dogs and pet them.  Both dogs were very patient and caring creatures who would never think of putting a mark on either of our children.

Abby died over 2 years ago.  She was the most gentle creature I've ever known. Unfortunately Jack has become ill and we are considering a peaceful end for him very soon. We were unbelievably lucky to have them each for 13 years and they served us with loyalty and compassion.  

Before you consider putting a special needs person with a pet, consider these things:
1.  What are the special considerations of that person?  Could a certain kind of pet cause anxiety, space issues, etc.  
2.  What are the common personality traits of the type of animal you would like? 
3.  Will you know the background of the animal?  Getting an animal where you do not know their temperament and behavior history is very risky
4.  Give the person some exposure to that type of animal prior to making a situation permanent.  
5.  Keep your thinking REAL and not IDEAL

The goal is to make sure that animal placements last forever.  We do not want an animal that is dangerous to our children, or at risks themselves for abuse.  Once a relationship is deemed to be unmanageable, it can lead down a very lonely path for the animal.

Be well and God bless.   Tom 

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