Anyone who has a cold-nosed companion will agree. Their joy is boundless, their devotion absolute, and their stinkiness completely negligible compared to the slobbery happy they bring to anyone who wants some.
Dogs are a good thing.
Think about it.
Peter Pan’s playmates had Nana.
Timmy had Lassie.
Penny had Bolt.
Gibbs’ got nobody.
Well, sure he’s got us, but he doesn’t have a friend. Someone who gets him. Someone who won’t judge him based on his challenges or care whether or not he can keep up with the neighborhood kids.
This is where I crumple and melt a little and try to think of a gazillion reasons why allergies and asthma shouldn’t stand in the way of opening our arms to a dog.
Autism Service Dogs are getting lots of buzz from both sides of the fence lately, too, creating a kind of therapy dog vs. mutty muttington throwdown.
In one corner we have Autism dogs. They can make huge difference for kids on the spectrum. Not only can they provide a physical and emotional anchor for bolters and shouters, but they can sense outbursts before they happen, allow for easier transitions at school, and act as a built-in conversation starter – great for working on social skills and language development.
In the other corner, we have shelter dogs, fresh-baked puppies from friends’ litters, and all other potential family companions that are just as capable of giving any child — spectrum or not — endless love and a sense of security.
But guess what?
Autism dogs are not that easy to come by. Waiting lists are years long, the placement process is exhaustive, and the fees are crazy steep. And, since they’re still new to the world of accepted therapy animals, they’re not yet allowed to accompany their owners to all same places an established service dog for the blind, wheelchair-bound or deaf can go.
And while all dogs are an investment, going domestic is way easier in comparison.
Does that make one better than the other?
How do you choose?
Pets can boost your child’s immune system! Find out more pet benefits, at Babble