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The benefits of a Therapy/Support canine companion

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by DogzSpirit, Jul 21, 2021.

  1. DogzSpirit

    DogzSpirit There's NOTHING to fix! V.I.P Member

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    The realization that this relationship worked in a therapeutic and protective (for both of us) manner, took place after we had both endured a loss that had such a profound effect on our lives. We both had emotional issues that lasted a while due to that. I decided one of my dogs and I would team up.

    I have since realized that I am indeed AT wired. At the time I felt very protective of this dog, and due to his feelings about that loss, he didn't like to let me out of his sight. He found it stressful to wonder where his human was. He had already lost someone and seemed to find going places with me to be an extreme comfort.

    I plopped a comfort/support dog vest on him. He had always been a natural, and would be drawn to sit by those who were ill, in wheelchairs or simply 'in need'. When he meets someone vulnerable he would lean his head against their leg. I have a few dogs. This one is the sensitive soul.

    I noticed when I was out with him, people would come up to us. When they would approach, I was no longer feeling on the spot. I noticed I was calmer, and more talkative. He would spot people that were friends, or seek them out by scent. For someone like me that might not immediately recognize an infrequent acquaintance, when he would direct his attention to them, I often had a chance to think think think (ah someone we know). It no longer took me by surprise.

    In hindsight his presence has provided:

    -A social bridge.

    -A distraction when people might overly focus on me, and pick up on my quirks.

    -A point of conversation that I found appealing enough to actually enjoy.

    -A soothing distraction when too much was going on around me - snuggle break from that action.

    -Drew my attention that someone was calling my name, when I might otherwise not notice (He would respond and I would look towards the person calling to me)

    -The people coming up to me would be dog lovers. What a bonus. My type of people!

    One may say a companion/support dog requires skills. I disagree. Other than recognizing my name (to hear people calling to me) and being highly socialized, he really didn't need any special skills.

    There are some pitfalls, but they were infrequent and easily dealt with. Some people in public, do not like dogs. They will go out of their way to make that known. Only once did I have to physically intercede a negative action, and that was when someone pretended to get close and tried to kick him, thinking I would not notice. I stuck out my leg to block that (yeah wanna fall flat on your face??) gave him a stern look and said watch out, disgraceful!

    I have never once felt anxious or edgy when he was with me, not even in the above moment.

    Do other AT here have a support dog? What experiences have you in regard to how your sweet friend has touched your life?

    I searched online, and found that service dogs are often used with Autistic children, but I do not see anything on Asperger Adults having service dogs.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2021
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  2. Misery

    Misery Photo-Negative V.I.P Member

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    I've got two dogs of my own. Cooper and Dingle, both are Wheaten terriers. Neither are support in any official capacity, though Cooper probably could be due to his general passivity and calm nature (whereas Dingle is just a tornado with fur).

    Dont know what I'd do without them, really. And I get that same feeling coming from both of them... they're both very clingy dogs. Cooper likes to do this thing where, if I'm sitting on the ground, he just sort of smashes his face into my leg and stands there like that, his "yes I'm ready for some hugs now" pose, which just confuses anyone nearby. Dingle, on the other hand, has extreme separation anxiety and will follow me around the house, always with this expression of "so, where are WE going?" and an assumption that she'll be included in whatever I do. It's easy to see just how bad that anxiety is, too, as whenever walking with her, both indoors and outside, it's easy to notice that she has this need to glance up at whoever she's walking with every 3 seconds or so, to make sure they havent blinked out of existence.

    We got her from a breeder, which was fine, problem was though that the breeder was waaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy too old to be doing that job... I'm talking like, 85 or so. The dogs were very well cared for, BUT, the breeder wasnt exactly full of the sort of energy needed to give the dogs real attention, so Dingle went from her first 1.5 years with very little human contact, to then living with us. We've had her for a year now, but her separation anxiety hasnt really improved.

    I do my best to help, so I guess she supports me, while I try to support her back. Well, both of them really, though Cooper doesnt need quite as much watching as the little one does.

    I've lost track of where I was going with this.
     
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  3. unperson

    unperson Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Had a very different experience, had two sight hounds (poor choice for autistic people on some levels cos they're kind like autistic dogs). Found them incredibly needy emotionally (like takers with some giver. great greeter/welcomer skills), so...the cutting up raw chicken (fussy eaters would only eat very limited diet) thing was quite a lot given raw chicken handling protocols (extreme food hygiene) uh and then there was the real HORROR of interacting with vets which is sorta like interacting with dentists/crazy people,

    So...all things considered, as much as I love dawgs, it doesn't work for me to own them.

    Non-sight hound owners could/would have a very different experience.

    Uh sight hounds are sooo...unique. We've already had a recent thread there about how sight hounds are the autistics of the dog world.
     
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  4. Aspychata

    Aspychata Serenity waves, beachy vibes

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    Had a Terrier Chihuahua mix and a Chihuahua fawn color. The Terrier mix was smart and fearless. Would run across the street to confront a dog. When we were going to relocate, l realized l couldn't keep her but she wasn't pad trained.

    I was frighten she would be abused unless she was trained. This was a feisty little soul. So l had to train even though she was an adult. So l sprayed a little water on her when she didn't use pad for about 3 months. It worked, and l heard an excellent report that her new owner was very happy with her. Maybe that was why she was given up originally.

    Dogs- so much fun to own.
     
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  5. DogzSpirit

    DogzSpirit There's NOTHING to fix! V.I.P Member

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    A dog ownership is certainly requires a lot of time and energy. They are truly 'beings' that will appreciate what you do, and return that love. Each dog I have is a family member, more so than a pet. Believe me they know it too, and it's gone to their dog heads lol.

    Breed, or more so personality match is important. We researched all types of dogs. Prior I was mainly mutts and what ever came my way. We settled on Portuguese Water Dogs for our later years, for unlike when I was younger I didn't want a challenge/surprise. I've enjoyed their social skills ha ha... and they love dog parks and hiking. I thought that they would be great kayaking companions, but couldn't keep them in the kayak, they wanted the lake so badly!

    The one Dog I spoke of, is cut out for a service dog role, but the others would not fit that. But then again, I didn't train them since puppyhood for that. This one just fell into that without any training whatsoever. People are stunned at how intuitive he is, and how he studies them carefully.

    Dogs are like people, each unique. Some are gentle with family, yet fierce protectors. I have quite a pack, and wouldn't change any of them to fit my needs. Dogs, like people, have all types of quirks and facets to them.
     
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  6. Gerald Wilgus

    Gerald Wilgus Well-Known Member

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    Like dogs, but have cats. The most interesting dog encounter for me was when I was a guide at Ski for Light where I was guiding a blind skiier in a 10 km nordic race. Dinners, and there were service dogs everywhere, well behaved, attentive to their sightless owners. It was gratifying to help out.
     
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  7. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Dogs have so much to offer in general, to us and also to each other. It's fascinating how the different breeds can be so different in personalities and skills (and size!), and yet are all the same exact species.

    At one rescue center an unusual friendship developed between a Chihuahua puppy and a blind Great Dane. It started when the Great Dane would sit with the rescue worker when they bottle fed the Chihuahua puppy (The Chihuahua's mother had died in childbirth).

    NINTCHDBPICT000549599682.jpg

    Unlikely friendship between puppy chihuahua and blind Great Dand
     
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  8. clg114

    clg114 Still crazy, after all these years. Staff Member V.I.P Member

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    At this time we have three Chihuahuas. Since all of our kids are gone and have families of their own, these little dogs are our babies. We have two that are five years old and one old one, fourteen years old.
     
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  9. Giant Hogweed

    Giant Hogweed Member

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    These are my two. I love them very much.
     

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  10. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Thought you might like this. '18 years old, and not a tooth in his head' Paco faces off against coyote 5 times his size and wins the day. :)



    And this is kind of funny. Hunter uses tiny Coco as Elk hunting dog (but not really) :D

     
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  11. Aspychata

    Aspychata Serenity waves, beachy vibes

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    The eyes are amazing on them.
     
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  12. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    They're beautiful, they look so calm and happy on their sofa. Are they wolfhounds?
     
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  13. DogzSpirit

    DogzSpirit There's NOTHING to fix! V.I.P Member

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    They are beauties, and oh do they know that sofa is theirs! Love it!
     
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  14. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    The picture is so perfectly balanced left to right, almost like a mirror image with differeent coloring.
     
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  15. ForestGumpett

    ForestGumpett Well-Known Member

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    We have 3 rescue. One from the woods, girl put an add on Craig’s list said someone was shooting at this dog. He was around 9mo and apparently had been dumped. He’s beautiful and 3yo now. Mix of Dobie/Rottie/Pit. Then came the Cattle dog/Pit mix we got to keep the first one happy. She’s a pistol at two, happiest dog we have ever seen and loves everyone. The most recent was a horrible story with a happy ending, a real Cinderella story but with a large male dog same age as our happy girl, two. This dogs picture is below. He had been terribly abused, permanent burn marks on his neck from over shocking and some teeth knocked out. He was skin and bones when we got him. I heard this dog needed lots of love and was protective. I needed to feel safe due to medical issues and loved due to cptsd from a bad childhood. This dog and I have mended each other a bunch. I’m not one bit scared with this dog around but don’t think he would make a dog that folks would allow into places due to his size, he’s a Cane Corso black brindle mastiff. He only weighs about ten pounds different than I do lol. He’s protective over me, seems to know I’m weak. Dogs are so smart aren’t they?!

    3A413860-983F-4646-9A94-E0D84D9B37A3.jpeg
     
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  16. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Am so, so happy these dogs have found themselves with you. :)
     
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  17. Giant Hogweed

    Giant Hogweed Member

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    I am actually a photographer. Although life and autism mean I haven't used my camera for a very long time. Thank you Tom. They are ex-racing greyhounds and had a hard life until they were rescued. Now they enjoy sleeping and eating treats.
     
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  18. Giant Hogweed

    Giant Hogweed Member

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    They stole my sofa!
     
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  19. DogzSpirit

    DogzSpirit There's NOTHING to fix! V.I.P Member

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    That they do... and the chairs, and the bed.. lol
     
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  20. Giant Hogweed

    Giant Hogweed Member

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    Talking of beds.
     

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