We knew unless we had Seth on board, the service dog effort would be a disaster. So much of the focus in our family is already on Riley. Would he feel left out? Resentful? The dog will have to be her dog. No one else is allowed to be more fun with it than her. So before ever mentioning the idea to Riley, I talked to Seth.
Sitting on the couch together on a day he was home sick from school, I started,
"Seth, I was reading about this place that raises service dogs to help kids with autism."
"Did you know they can actually train dogs to recognize when kids with autism are starting to have a meltdown? The dogs put their head on the child's lap,nuzzle them and basically offer comfort and change the subject, before a major tantrum happens."
"Wow. What kind of dogs do they have?"
"All different kinds, I guess."
"Any chihuahuas?" (Seth really loves Chihuahuas).
"I don't know. I mostly saw Labs and German Shepherds on the website."
He snuggled into the crook of my arm, and we sat there, quiet with our own thoughts. Suddenly he shot straight up, turned to face me, and said,
"Mom! We should get one of those dogs for Riley!"
"You think?"Of course he's on board! It was all his idea.
*Seth did a great job (above) decorating envelopes for the neighborhood fund raising mailing we sent out in November. Our community has been very generous. We are still waiting for the results from on-line donations thus far. Each and every person who has donated will get a personal thank you note as soon as I get the list. Thanks so much to everyone who has made a contribution to 4 Paws for Ability in Riley's honor!