Ok, so its not really a curious incident, I just happen to be reading ‘The curious incident of the dog in the nighttime’ at the moment… which I have to say, doesn’t have me gripped as much as my usual romantic/funny/sexy ‘guilty pleasure’ reads… but I’m sticking with it!
So, back in March we started what was to be our ninth summer of having a caravan down in sunny Devon. We love escaping down there for the weekend. Its only an hour or so down the road but it always felt like a little holiday. However, this year started to feel a little different.
Over the holiday weekend, I decided to take myself out for a little run, and in that 25 minutes, I had decided that things needed to change after this summer. I wanted to enjoy one last season in Devon and then sell up. I didn’t want to visit the same places anymore year in and year out. I wanted to explore some of the many beautiful places in other parts of the country. Another part of my master plan was… to get a dog!
I’d already done a fair bit of Googling about dogs and autistic children and how they can help with anxiety etc, and the kids had always wanted one. So, I did what we women like to call… ‘planting the seed’. Just a gentle conversation about an idea I’d had. Usually, how this works is then you leave it for a few weeks and hubby then comes up with the same proposition believing he thought of it!
That’s exactly what happened. A week later, ‘we’ decided that we would have one last summer and then look at getting a puppy at the end of August. I didn’t hesitate to research dog breeds and look for a reputable breeder. We’d decided on a Cockapoo (Cocker Spaniel crossed with a Poodle) and found a breeder that currently had a litter for sale and was planning on having a litter with another dog to be ready at the end of August. Perfect.
That was what was meant to happen… that was the plan. However…
What was meant to be a lovely Bank Holiday weekend down the caravan was cut short. Ellie was having a really tough time of it with her anxiety. Admittedly, it was her birthday on the Bank Holiday Monday – this is never a great time. Events like birthdays and Christmas really get hyped up a lot more than with neurotypical children (and even that can be quite a lot) and then the child feels overwhelmed with the feelings causing anxiety and uncertainly of what will happen on the day.
This is what happened to Ellie. From the moment we left the house on Friday evening, she was talking through every aspect of the weekend and worrying about what would be happening/what she would be eating/ what I would I be saying. She got into such a state, crying and saying all sorts of silly things that we came home on the Sunday evening and had her birthday at home where she felt calmer.
We figured this was just a glitch being that it was her birthday, but the very same thing happened on our next visit, just two weeks later. The whole journey down, Ellie was already becoming anxious about what we were doing the next day. Once again, this built and built until we had uncontrollable crying and screaming… and all this in a little tin box of a caravan is really not great.
It got so much that Hubby needed to go for a walk as he was getting upset and needed to get some space. I needed some too so I sat in the sun in front of the van. Half an hour later, hubby calls me on the phone and tells me that he can’t deal with a summer like this… lets sell up now and get a puppy… lets not wait until the end of the summer.
Now, I won’t lie, I was delighted! I really wanted a dog as much as the kids, and I too wasn’t looking forward to a summer of these meltdowns every weekend. I also had something else up my sleeve. I’d already contacted the breeder in the week to see if he had any of the current litter left (it was like I’d had a sixth sense or something!). When I told hubby he had four girls and two boys he unexpectedly said… “ring him and see if we can come and look tomorrow”. Talk about a complete turnaround!
The following day, we got up, told the kids the change in events which they were partly sad about with us selling the van, but mainly happy because we were getting a puppy! We popped to the pets store on the way to pick up some things and then ventured off to the middle of nowhere on Dartmoor Hills, to a beautiful farm to pick our new puppy!
Now, I can’t say that our beautiful little girl ‘Dusty’ (named after Dusty Springfield) has made a difference to Ellie’s autistic behaviours. In fact, if you have read some of the other blogs, you will know that things have been hard since the start of the six weeks holiday. However, this little pup has brought so much joy to our family and is always there for cuddle when the meltdowns start… and that’s just me!! 😉❤🐶
Until next time. Love & hugs xxx