Our angel came to us recently in the shape of a four year old Australian Shepherd named Saucie. We had been talking about the idea of a “companion” dog for Josh for quite a while. As I began to research, I realized it could be years before we received one and Josh might not even qualify for a trained companion dog.
In the meantime, Josh’s anxiety at night grew more and more. Bedtime became a traumatic event. Eventually, we heard in Josh’s own words what the fear was all about.
“Mom, I’m afraid if I go to bed without you or dad I’m going to die in my sleep.”
“Josh, why do you think you might die in your sleep?”
“Because I’ve almost died so many times. First when we had the house fire when I was a baby and my sister saved me. Then I had cancer and almost died. Then I went into anaphylactic shock and almost died. Then I’ve had so many breathing problems and have almost died.”
I couldn’t argue with any of these incidents as they were all true. The house fire story was a little exaggerated, but I knew he’d heard the stories and they had set deep impressions in his soul. I reminded him that NONE of these situations were happening now. Our house was not on fire. The cancer is gone. I’m not giving him any medicine that will cause him to go into anaphylactic shock and he has a stable, solid airway through his tracheotomy.
“Oh” he replied as I watched his 9 year old mind take this all in. But still, bedtimes were tough.
Then we discovered a place where we might find a dog for Josh. As my husband called the breeder and spoke of Josh’s needs, he was told they had the perfect dog for us. And one day they drove out to the breeder’s home. The barn was lined with kennels full of barking dogs, but Saucie sat quietly. The breeder opened her pen and she walked straight up to Josh and sat down right in front of him waiting for him to pet her! Josh and my husband were stunned!
So Saucie came home that evening, Josh fed her and she slept the entire night on his bed and every night since. Gone is the fear and anxiety of death! Saucie follows him around where ever he goes. She watches out for him and waits for him to come home from school. She’s his buddy. She is calm, mellow and very loving. The other night Josh pointed out how she even lies down in the living room facing the entrance just so she could watch over us.
“She’s my guard dog, mom” he said with a smile. I would have never guessed what a difference a dog could make in my son’s life.
She’s an angel…