How has a dog improved your place of being?

autism, health & wellness, meditation, mindfulness, psychotherapy, Social Trends, thoughts for living, Uncategorized

dog thoughts

This May it will be four years since we “rescued” Pepper Moo from the Hobbs (NM) Animal Shelter. Truth be told, she has rescued us. Over the years, Pepper has offered us  countless hours of comfort and support. Ostensibly, I agreed to a dog because I had read the research about the many benefits canines offer to people with autism and other disabilities.
When my mother was alive, Pepper, in fact, did rescue her. She had fallen one day and the rest of us were in another part of the house. Pepper with her keen hearing, heard my mother calling for help and she barked and barked until my husband, Mike, investigated. Even though my mother used a wheelchair, she was fairly independent and so many times in the evening, she retired to her room and the rest of us retired to ours. Had Pepper not been on the lookout, my mother might have suffered far more severe consequences than a broken nose that night.
Pepper is on 24-hour duty. When it’s bedtime, Pepper without prompting goes into my son’s room and lays at the foot or on his bed guarding him from nightmares and other anxiety provoking stimulations, such as midnight thunderstorms or distant emergency sirens.
But, mostly, she has rescued me. When my mother died, I saved my grief for the early mornings or afternoons when I was in solitude, except for Pepper. And today was no different.
As a member of Planet Earth and in my current vocation, I am a survivor and witness of grief and loss, respectively. Sometimes, my heart needs a companion while tears cleanse me so I can trudge a little further with others. Pepper has been my loyal companion and I thank God for sending her.
New Microsoft Publisher Document (2)

Your obsessions can be your salvation

autism, creative non fiction, health & wellness, meditation, mindfulness, thoughts for living, Uncategorized

My youngest son, Daniel, and our dog, Pepper, made our daily field trip to the nearby developed lake. We hunted for turtles, fish, and green algae. I have surrendered the idea of convincing my son about switching obsessions to something else because of my opinion of its tediousness. He loves this daily ritual of speaking to the flora and fauna and listening to their quiet. So, who am I to disrupt this calming activity, which, once I look past its repetitiveness, is calming to me, too?

The symptoms of repetitiveness and obsession are aspects of my son’s diagnosis on the autism spectrum. He is rated “high functioning,” whatever that means. I am rated a high functioning recovering person. My home environment mostly reflects my high functionability withgood-orderly-direction echoes of chaos. I married a high functioning working man who has an obsession of taking opportunities wherever they take us. They have taken us to eight homes in 18 years. That’s a household move every 2 ½ years. So, it ought not be a shock that some boxes are 18 years old, but when I look at them I am surprised that they are still with me. They are loaded into the moving van and relocated. This last relocation, however, feels like a long-term one. While I rationalize it as being in my son’s best interest, I know deep down it’s in my best interest, too, to stay put. More boxes have been unpacked than ever before, including the 30 plus ones bequeathed to me by my mother.

One room displays like a museum. It is perfectly put together and we don’t live in it. It is used only as a passage way into the kitchen. It is an unattainable model for the rest of the house. Every other room is in some kind of organizing process with a few boxes scattered around as reminders to my previously vagabond life. My son, with his obsession to reliable routines, is helping me exchange my feelings of discomfort to feelings of security for order and structure.