Our family dog story starts out happy, then becomes horrifically tragic. When Kyle was two we got our first puppy, a sheltie like the dog my family had when I was small.
We enjoyed watching her grow for months, but then one day she heartbreakingly slipped out of the door, ran into the street, and was hit by a speeding car while we all stood watching. She died instantly.
Kyle’s compassion that day was remarkable. The Mighty recently asked for submissions for an article for World Down Syndrome Day describing a time when a child with Down syndrome showed emotion other than joy.
I wrote this:
When my son Kyle was two and a half, our sweet puppy was hit by a car and died instantly. Later that morning Kyle walked over to his dog’s empty crate and looked bewildered. Even at two he seemed to understand something had changed. Then he saw my tears, and his face fell further. His little arms wrapped around me as he looked at me with concern. His empathy got me through that day.
I vowed we would not get another herding dog until we had a fence to protect her. And then one glorious Spring, we put up a fence. And I couldn’t stop thinking about getting a dog. I watched and waited, looked at a few dogs, and then one day a magical thing happened: I found our perfect dog.
No puppies this time.
We rescued a beautiful older sheltie with a gentle disposition. When we went to meet her, we all instantly clicked with her. When Kyle saw her, he started signing “Cookie” and the name stuck. We are the family that was always waiting for this dog–a match made in heaven.
The one thing we have had to work on with Kyle is not giving Cookie hugs. You can’t really blame him, as she looks like a big furry pillow to him. We have worked to teach him “gentle pets” and “no hugs.” He is learning very well, and now Cookie sits patiently while Kyle showers his attention on her. I captured some of this on video. I hope you will enjoy watching our happy ending.
If you like the video, please share! (https://youtu.be/nVs0JCqz8PY) Sharing is great way to show the potential of kids with Down syndrome, just in time for World Down Syndrome Day. Thank you!