Thursday, 1 May 2014

Introducing Cassie

We have been so busy in our house over the last two months I haven't had time to write a blog post. There has been a big change in our house and this as an introduction to it –

Stardust has always loved animals and especially dogs.  When I heard that it was possible to get dogs trained specifically for children on the autistic spectrum I started my quest of getting him a fully trained dog. 

It was not easy by any means and a lot more complicated if the dog were to be trained to be allowed to access everywhere. Charities were not forthcoming - it seems the North of England isn't even thought about when it comes to this.  We found a charity with a section called PAWS but they didn't cut the mustard for us.

After some time my Mum decided to buy a standard poodle and we were planning to train her up ourselves.  Easier said than done....she's full of beans and loves life and training a dog to do anything is tough and extremely time consuming. 

 Last November when the poodle was one and still bouncing about like Zebedee Stardust was continuing to say he really needed a dog in his life so I started to hunt again.  As he doesn't go to school and has only a handful of peers his own age I felt having a dog around 24/7 could only be a very positive thing.  (I don't give up on something I want to achieve - even if it takes a while) Luckily for us a private company in Ireland had started training up assistance dogs for children with autism literally a week before I found them.  When I phoned they were so positive and said they could definitely sort a dog out for us no problems.  We just had to wait for them to call back to say they had one.  It didn’t take long and the week after Christmas I found out Cassie an 11 month old Golden Retriever was being trained especially for Stardust.  We sent information and video footage to them showing his behaviours and explaining how he responded in certain situations,.

In February we went to Ireland for a week to be trained up and to collect Cassie and bring her home.  It was an incredible week I was exhausted by the end of it.  I was worked pretty hard! The training that has gone into her, my goodness she can do no wrong.  One word when she has her magic jacket on and she does as you say. It is amazing.  We go to the supermarket, cafes, in museums, cinema everywhere with her.   

Cassie is a dream, she is more than that, she is like one of those dogs you don't know exist until you meet them.  She has brought this calm peaceful space over me and Stardust and I feel indestructible when I have her by my side.  I feel brave, bold and beautiful (she gets so much attention it's helping my ego too!) Stardust is happier, I guess calmer, he is more compliant and most of all he is going out and about and just doing stuff in a way 9 years old should do it.  I can't really explain it but even after two weeks she has changed our lives in a big way.  I am in love with her completely and have so much respect for her.  I think every family in the world needs a Cassie dog. 

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