Joshua loves our dogs and he has even taken our new puppy, Kevin, to his heart already. We had a wonderful afternoon out at an arborteum yesterday and he had a black dog on each side of his wheelchair, trotting alongside him. As we admired the golden autumn colours, he woud occasionally reach down on his left hand side and stroke the head or ears of Ruby, very gently. We found an area thick in fallen crispy leaves and my husband showered the dogs in leaves, which really made Joshua giggle. He reached out to join in, so my husband passed him giant handfuls of leaves so that he could thrown them up in the air over Kevin. Joshua loved this game and did not want it to stop, the dogs tired of it before he did.
When we stopped at a pop-up cafe for a cup of tea and a slice of cake, again Joshua stroked the dogs while devouring his Dad’s victoria sponge. The dogs were very much part of this family outing and they are an important part of the family too. Joshua likes these days to kneal on the floor and to throw toys for Kevin and Ruby to fetch back to him. They are not the best at returning to him but he enjoys getting on their level for a game. Although still a puppy, Kevin is taking his lead form Ruby and is gentle around Joshua, as though they both understand that he is special and potentially unpredictable too.
Although they are not official ‘therapy dogs’ who assist disabled people with day to day tasks, they are beneficial for him and they will, I am sure, protect him should the need arise. Ruby is very attentive during his seizures, sitting with him and checking that he is OK. I can recall one holiday walk when Joshua did not want to get out of the car, he clearly knew that a seixure was coming but we thought he was being lazy or obstinate, and overruled him. Within minutes Joshua was lying on the ground, fitting. A St Bernard came rushing to his rescue but Ruby was very protective : she was only a young dog at the time, but our small cocker spaniel put her front paws on Joshua’s chest and she snarled at thisdog, who was simply curious. The puppy taking on the gentle giant looked ridiculous but showed, even at a young age, what her role was going to be.
I cannot imagine our family without at least one dog in it, and I am sure that Joshua feels the same.