Gregory is our 5-year old. He is on the spectrum for autism, and this is one of his mother’s and my greatest challenges. Last year Gregory learned to climb the rear yard fence, which caused quite a scare the first time it happened. I found him in the park a block away, happily playing on the jungle gym. The moments between discovering he was missing and finding him were among the worst I have ever experienced. We therefore have to keep an eye on him 100% of the time. It comes with the territory. He has wanderlust, and no sense of boundaries yet.
Max is our German Shepherd. He is a purebred I rescued in late 2008. The story was that the family that had him didn’t think that a German Shepherd would mix with their new baby. Their loss, my gain. However, he was 9 months old when I brought him home, and didn’t know his own strength. It took some getting used to, especially for Ann. I don’t blame her. She has her hands full as the mother of 4, one on the spectrum, and helping me with the business.
Since he came to us, there has been more of a tolerant detente than affection between Mommy and Max. I had a Shepherd as a child, and knew Max would be wonderful, but it has been a process.
Yesterday we finally had the breakthrough. I was out, and Ann came into the kitchen to see the rear door ajar. It couldn’t be; she locked it so Gregory would remain safe inside, but the stool next to the open door told the story. Our crafty son figured out the lock. Ann ran to the door, and, to her relief, saw Gregory contentedly playing in the dirt.
And next to him, like a sphinx, was Max, watching our son closely. As she described it, when Gregory got up and moved, Max moved with him. Max got some serious praise from Mommy right then, and then returned to Gregory’s side, looking back at Ann, then Gregory, as if he were putting it all together.
The way to a Mother’s heart is through her children. Now, a wet lick or tuft of hair is no big deal in our home. Max earned his stripes, and I am still getting used to my wife smiling at (and being mushy with) the dog.