April 15, 2018

How Our Autism Service Dog Helps Mom, Too

I often talk about how Bingo impacts Brandon’s life because that is the whole reason we have our Autism Service Dog. He helps to keep Brandon calm, allows for tethering so Brandon does have to be in a special needs stroller or hold my hand every second we are outside our home, and can track Brandon, should he ever elope and get lost. Bingo is Brandon‘s dog, not mine.

But...

Bingo has impacted my own life so significantly in these four months we’ve had him. He has opened up a whole new world for my son, which in it of itself is life changing, but he’s made my life easier, too. It still blows my mind how well-trained he is. Whenever we are out and about, I never have to worry about his manners. We are in total sync as service dog and handler. His demeanor and loving and snuggly personality is just a perfect match for our family.

Let me give you two examples from yesterday to help me explain how Bingo impacts our daily lives. First, when we sign our tax forms, we typically take one car and take turns – one of us goes in the office to sign the paperwork while the other one stays in the car with Brandon. Then we switch. Take Brandon into the tax office? Oh, heck no! Well, yesterday James was at work and I had to go in by myself and sign. This time it was so easy. I just walked right in with Brandon and Bingo. I had both hands free, and I was not wrestling with Brandon to keep him near me. I wasn’t worried about him running around the office, breaking things, or getting lost. While tethered to Bingo, he hopped around making his crazy movements and noises, while I had two hands free to sign the paperwork.

Second, went to pick up Brandon‘s baseball jersey and meet his new baseball coach. Typically this kind of event, as small as it is, is very difficult for me. The level of stress I have in even thinking about taking Brandon into a room where there are so many people, often causes me not to even go. I can’t even count the number of times where Brandon has melted down to where I have had to drag or carry him out of a room kicking and screaming. He is getting so much bigger that I can’t simply carry him out like a sack of potatoes (as I call it) like I could when he was younger. This has deterred me from doing so many things with him. Knowing I had Bingo to help me gave me so much confidence in taking Brandon to this meet and greet. Bingo’s presence alone calms Brandon, which I did not expect when we started this journey. At this event, he was tethered to Bingo the entire time, and Brandon‘s attitude was...the best word I can think of to describe it is “free.” He has a lot more freedom with Bingo. Particularly when we are standing and waiting for something, he is able to walk a few feet here and there so he can look around, or even just move like his body like needs to. Holding my hand is so restrictive for him, and I didn’t realize how much until we got Bingo.

Bingo has allowed us to do things we have never done with Brandon before, and made the things we dread doing less of a burden.










2 comments:

  1. It is great to hear that Bingo is working out so well for your family. Thank you for telling the benefits from your point of view. From our experience, as he gets old, the fear of his bolting lessens.

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    Replies
    1. I sure hope that is the case for Brandon!

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