I have been debating the pros and cons of adopting a dog into our family and decided to do a bit of reading on the benefits of pets for disabled children. I know Jude particularly loves dogs (we have 2 cats!) and I have seen how gentle and caring he can be when around them. Having a dog would give him confidence to go out on his own (when he’s older and if he is able to be that independent.) It would also give him a best friend and whilst I know we are encouraging him to develop his social life through visits to Jubilee House and day trips with Jade and other children from the centre, he will never genuinely have that level of independent friendship that other children his age attain. We need to be realistic and remember that mentally, Jude is probably about 4 years old at the moment. That means 4 year old friendships as well. I also think having a dog would encourage Jude to think outside of his own little bubble. At the moment, Jude thinks about himself entirely, I really don’t think he knows how to think any other way…and at 4 years old many children are still quite egocentric in their processes. So would having a dog change this in some way? Or at least encourage him to think about someone else’s well being alongside his own?
There are lots of interesting articles on pets and disability but here are a few links to ones I especially enjoyed…
This first one is American and it made me smile to think of a dog supporting an autistic child much like a guide dog does for a blind person. Emotional support is something pets can offer through their general demeanour and with the right dog, I truly believe Jude would be a lot calmer. The third link is for a charity that trains dogs to not only be companions but to assist disabled people as well.
Does anyone have any direct experience of adopting a dog when they have disabled children? I’d love to hear from you either way. A x