The best place to start

The best place to start

Dogs have been a pretty  constant topic of conversation in our house for many years now. It started with stumbling upon a Chow Chow in the street when Poss was a tiny girl. It stole her heart with it’s soft, soft fur and lion like face, and so commenced a campaign that lasted years for us to add one to our family.

Let’s be clear. We have a dog. Her name is Lucy, she’s almost 15 and she’s a Maltese cross. We (or me, as Husband was slightly blind sided by her arrival) collected her, a tiny ball of white fluff, from a shelter and she immediately claimed me as her own.

The best place to start 2

She has tolerated Poss over the years; and Poss has certainly made her work for it. There has been all sorts of indignities forced on this dog and she’s borne each of them with the gentle kindness that is her nature.

However, even in her twilight years (and maybe even more so now), she just wants me. She’s too old for fetch, her hearing is going and arthritis is starting to cripple her movement. She shuffles around the house, settling at my feet wherever I end up, content to just be close. While I can look at her and see my dog in her old eyes, it’s completely lost on Poss.

We know all the benefits that come from a companion dog. We know that without a sibling, a dog might help fill part of that gap. We know that dogs can be wonderful for kids on the Spectrum. Or all kids actually.

So we’ve continued to kick it around. Not the dog of course, that would be cruel, just the concept of one. But it seems to raise a bunch of questions that we keep coming back to…

  • Is Lucy too old for another dog to join the household? Is it simply unfair, or would it possibly give her a bit of a boost in her old age?
  • Would another dog be ok with Hugo? Lucy is great with him, but who knows what another dog would do…
  • Is Poss really ready for the commitment and responsibility of her own dog?
  • Rescue or breeder? We would love to go with a rescue, but with a dog and a rabbit already in the house, it might be hard to find an older dog to fit in. In fact, one rescue group told us outright that Hugo puts us out of the running for them.
  • And then the breed… Which one is best for our girl?

I guess none of these are easy to answer. And to be honest, we might just have to jump in and see how we go.

Today we visited the Dog Lovers Show and spent a few hours exploring the stands, visiting and petting all sorts of dogs. Pushing through the crowds of people, we watched displays, listened to presenters and people watched as they interacted with their pets.

We discovered a few breeds we hadn’t considered before, and took advantage of the passionate dog people around every corner to ask all our stupid questions. And even after all of that, I’m not sure we have any answers.

But we do have a little girl who really wants a dog. So that’s probably the best and only place to start.

Do you have a pet for your child? How did you choose?


Disclaimer: We were given the tickets to the Dog Lovers Show for free, however I was not asked, nor obligated to blog about it. I genuinely just want to talk dogs. 

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  1. I love reading about your & Poss’s day to day moments.
    We have a Lowchen – a pure breed that doesn’t malt. She is v playful , easy to bond & love, smart but can be tricky to train – b/c she is always do playful. Highly recommend, we are 3126 if you want to visit.

  2. We have a Koolie x Basenji called Kassie who is nearly three years old. She came from the Lost dog’s home to us when she was about nine months old. When my daughter was born over8 years ago, we had two dogs – a bull terrier cross and a miniature dachshund (inherited from my mother-in-law). Our daughter’s first words were ‘good dogs’ and she formed a strong bond with both of them. The bull terrier cross sat patiently while our daughter pulled herself up to standing using her assistance. She let her run over her tail and didn’t flinch. And the dachshund sat happily under her high chair, gulping down what ever was dropped his way. When we lost the bull terrier cross to cancer and the dachshund about six months later – all around our daughter’s fifth birthday – it was a great loss for us. We tried putting off getting another dog for a while – you do have more freedom without a pet, not having to think about boarding kennels or the like – but our daughter insisted that hubby had said she could get another dog when she was six. We spied Kassie on the Lost dog’s home website, and she looked like a miniature version of our bull terrier cross – although this time with blue eyes. And although she struggled to focus on hubby – she was a stray found wandering in Northern Victoria so we don’t know what her history was – we decided to give her a chance. Now more than two years later, Kassie and our daughter are best pals. Yes, Kassie steals her toys and our shoes from time to time, but that’s all part of the game, isn’t it? Kassie is a bit of a hunter – she has caught a couple of rats – so I wouldn’t think she’d be good around rabbits. When we first got Kassie we started her off for a couple of nights at a kennels as we had a three week trip overseas planned for later in the year. Hubby and I were suggesting we got a dog after our overseas trip by our daughter was persistent. Kassie doesn’t mind the kennels and actually pulls to get in there. Early this year we inherited two goldfish and eight guppies from our neighbours who were returning to Darwin. Our daughter loves the fish. And slow release food blocks let us go away for short periods too.

  3. We have a 15 year old cat, who is surprisingly tolerant of Milla, considering what a cantankerous old thing she is! I think once she passes, and depending were we are living, we might get a kitten and puppy to grow up together. I’ve always lived with cats my whole life, and hubby wants a dog, which would probably be better for Milla. Oh, and maybe a bunny… ooh, we could get the three of them as babies, and they could grow up together and I could document their wacky adventures together. Maybe they could have their own Instagram account … sorry, what were we talking about?

  4. Helen cherubin says:

    Hi there, our son has high functioning Autism and he attends Yarrabah school in Aspendale. We are exposed to 4 dogs that have been trained by DKD dogs (dogs for kids with disabilties) I have seen first hand what a fantastic job these dogs do.

    We have wanted a dog for years but couldn’t afford one….after a visit to the peidatriction and the possibility of our son needing medication we decided to find a dog. We were lucky as our friend was selling a pug. Nit a bread I had thought of…after a visit to there house and after the doctors news I rang to see if we could try him out over the weekend…it’s now been three weeks and we HAVE seen a dramatic Change in him….we have got permission from Yarrabah and Bonbeach primary to take the dog into school and bring him in for school pickup… The school are so happy with our son that they are happy for our little Pug (7 months old) to come with him to school….No more Tears. No more carring him into school . He is sitting and doing his work… And sleeping… He is now wearing shoes and socks… Our Pug has changed our lives… Kind regards Helen

  5. Helen cherubin says:

    # not a breed I had thought of
    # the dog does not stay at school he comes home with me
    # have started dog obedience for our son to learn how to handle him properly

  6. We are looking at a Newfoundland for our son who is high functioning. At the moment we have a cat for him and that cat has made a massive difference. The cat follows him around like a dog and always stays in arms reach. Newfoundland dogs while big are incredibly gentle and especially so with kids. Our son just loves them.


  1. […] been put on hold. We asked them to place a hold on the second one, and we jumped in the car with Lucy and Poss and hoped we were making the right […]

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