Should we? Shouldn’t we? We had numerous discussions about it and even wrote a pros and cons list but at the end of it all I said to my husband ‘If it makes Oscar happy and he feels like he has a companion, what does the rest matter?’
Yes, we were thinking of getting a pet, namely a dog.
My son Oscar is 4 years old and an only child and it had become apparent that he didn’t really have any friends. Born three months prematurely, Oscar was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy with Cystic Periventricular Leukomalacia when he was nine months old.
He can’t sit, stand, crawl, walk, talk, toilet himself or feed himself…..yet (I will not give up hope!). However, Oscar is such a happy and cheeky little boy and once you know him you can’t help but love him, even if I do say so myself!
It worries me that Oscar doesn’t really have any friends
And with the best will in the world I cannot make other children want to play with him, especially when he can’t play games like they can. Oscar has also started a specialist school recently and I had hoped that I would meet some parents and make some friends myself but most of the children come to school and go home on the bus provided by the school, so, so far I have only met two other mum’s (who both seem lovely).
Also, there are so many children with different conditions in Oscar’s class that I know that it may not be particularly easy for their parents to bring them to our house so their child and Oscar can play, they may not have transport or it may not be really possible for us to take Oscar to them due to their child’s needs.
Having a disabled child can be isolating for the parent as well as the child
We have certainly found out who our friends are since we received Oscar’s diagnosis and as it turned out it’s not many. Which was partly another reason for getting a dog. It would get us all out of the house.
It still astounds me the ignorance (and I hate using the word ignorance) towards people who have disabilities and their families. You get asked by strangers the dreaded question, what’s ‘wrong’ with your son? Nothing, he just has Cerebral Palsy. What is wrong with you that you think that it is acceptable to ask strangers questions like that?!
There are the people who stare a little too long at my son whilst we are out and about (yes, I see you). Then there are the people who can’t get away from you quick enough or have no idea what to say when you voluntarily tell them about your child’s condition, they look like startled rabbits.
I knew if we decided to get a dog, it would not judge Oscar because he is disabled, like people do.
As long as you love and take care of your dog, they will love and take care of you. Oscar would have one true friend.
The next question is what kind of dog to get and will Oscar like having a dog……?!
I want to stay in touch
Does your child use a "sleep system" at night?