View Full Version : Pets good for ADD kids?


Cecily
05-30-15, 09:01 PM
Have you had good experiences with getting a dog for an ADD child?

My husband (has ADD) wants our 9-year-old son to show sufficient responsibility BEFORE getting a pet, but I'm thinking that a pet would be invaluable in building responsibility (and we'll be walking along side him through this). The "responsibility" that my husband wants our son to exhibit before getting a pet of his own is following through on assigned tasks without being reminded and without complaining--I told him that I guess in that case we should start taking away HIS privileges 'cause he's 35 and hasn't mastered those skills.....

What would you say have been the greatest benefits of caring for and bonding with pets for your ADD child?

bizarre101
05-31-15, 03:47 AM
if he didnt say on his own, that he wants a dog you shouldnt get one, imo.

perhaps you can get yourself a dog, and if he wants to take some responsibility ocassionally, then ok and appreciated..

its otherwise sort of pressure... he needs to want a dog and to take care...

GeordieDave
05-31-15, 04:25 AM
Imo although having a dog can be an amazing thing for kids, but getting it purely to get a child to finish their assignments without being asked or without complaining is not the ebst idea.

It might work for a week or forever, who knows but if it doesn't work. You can't simply take the dog away from him because he didn't complete an assignment.

And we all know that getting a dog for a child, it's the parents who take care of the dog and the child plays with it.

acdc01
05-31-15, 11:11 AM
No, a dog will not decrease ADHD symptoms.

I'd get one if you want one though. Plus I personally think pets increase sympathy (not responsibility). If you agree with that and want your son to be more sympathetic, then I'd get a dog. Sympathy is overrated though to me. Seems like the people that succeed the most often have the least amount of sympathy for others. Doesn't even seem to hurt their chances at getting a good relationship since they often end of with people who are "givers" while they are the recievers.

Fuzzy12
05-31-15, 11:24 AM
I think, pets can teach you a lot, including about responsibility. I recently got two rescue budgies, not exactly out of choice but now that I have them I make sure that I give them the best care possible and I take responsibility for them more than for anything or anyone else in my life.

However, pets are a big commitment and responsibility and irrespective of ADHD or not if you get a pet for a child you need to be willing to take care of the pet yourself if your child for whatever reason doesn't. If you are willing to do that maybe you can ask your son what he thinks about having dog. If he isn't interested I wouldn't consider getting one.

Luvmybully
05-31-15, 11:26 AM
No 9 year old child, and certaibnly not one with adhd, is capable of handling the responsibility of an animal's welfare.

Caring for another living creature is an ADULT responsibility.

I love acdc01's statement that "No, a dog will not decrease ADHD symptoms"

Adding a dog to your family is such a huge commitment, if the adults are not the ones that are 100% committed to the dog's lifelong care, then don't get one. A dog is another family member.

I personally think a dog is a WONDERFUL thing for kids with adhd. And sure does have potential to help with learning responsibility. But once you have that dog, what are you going to do if it turns out that for YOUR child, no it doesn't actually help with that adhd symptom?

Kids and dogs are a fabulous thing. They really are. But the CARE of a dog, the responsibility, has to rest on the adults, not the children.

Fuzzy12
05-31-15, 12:07 PM
Omg, point in case, I just left the window wide open with the budgie cage door open. Budgies aren't homing and if they'd flown out, more likely than not it would have meant death for them. :(:(:(

Anyway, my point is, it's a huge responsibility and it's not easy even with the best of intentions and it's just not something to be taken lightly. :( sorry..am still shocked.:eek:I'm such an idiot.

Cecily
05-31-15, 06:08 PM
if he didnt say on his own, that he wants a dog you shouldnt get one, imo.

perhaps you can get yourself a dog, and if he wants to take some responsibility ocassionally, then ok and appreciated..

its otherwise sort of pressure... he needs to want a dog and to take care...

He's begging for a dog.

Cecily
05-31-15, 06:11 PM
Imo although having a dog can be an amazing thing for kids, but getting it purely to get a child to finish their assignments without being asked or without complaining is not the ebst idea.


That is not the reason for getting a pet/dog. The completing tasks without being reminded and without complaining is what his dad wants him to be doing regularly BEFORE getting a pet.

Cecily
05-31-15, 06:14 PM
No, a dog will not decrease ADHD symptoms.


Of course a dog will not decrease ADHD symptoms.... I asked what benefits you may have experienced a dog bringing to a child with ADHD. i.e. Therapy dogs can be very beneficial to kids with autism or people with PTSD, etc. etc.

Cecily
05-31-15, 06:18 PM
Kids and dogs are a fabulous thing. They really are. But the CARE of a dog, the responsibility, has to rest on the adults, not the children.

Thanks, yes, we are well aware of the responsibilities of a dog. We both have had dogs all our lives and currently have a breeding pair of Boxers.


................

Everyone seems to be answering all the questions that I did NOT ask. I never said that our son didn't ask for a dog. I never said that we expected him to care for it all on his own. I never said this was our first dog.

I asked what the benefits of having a dog could be for a child with ADHD? Can they be as beneficial for kids with ADHD as they can be for people who are neurologically atypical?

mbrandon
05-31-15, 09:41 PM
Dogs are great for development of a child's immune system. Your son being 9 tho, not sure if there is a huge benefit at this age.

Other than that I can't think of anything this has to do with ADHD... Although I must say I can't fathom having grown up without a dog in the household.

Little Missy
05-31-15, 09:48 PM
But you already have "breeding boxers." First dog?

Fuzzy12
06-01-15, 08:58 AM
Thanks, yes, we are well aware of the responsibilities of a dog. We both have had dogs all our lives and currently have a breeding pair of Boxers.


................

Everyone seems to be answering all the questions that I did NOT ask. I never said that our son didn't ask for a dog. I never said that we expected him to care for it all on his own. I never said this was our first dog.

I asked what the benefits of having a dog could be for a child with ADHD? Can they be as beneficial for kids with ADHD as they can be for people who are neurologically atypical?

Apologies for not answering your questions. :-)

I think, most kids would benefit from a pet. In fact, I think, most people would benefit from a pet (as long as they are capable of taking good care of it). I definitely benefit a lot from mine and they have taught me a lot too.

In my personal, totally biased and subjective opinion, I think, a child with ADHD could benefit from having a pet as taking care of a beloved pet seems to have exactly the right combination of being incredibly important (in the sense that you know that if you don't take good care, your pet will suffer), incredibly rewarding and also lots of fun. I mean, I can imagine that this combination of factors increases your motivation naturally and most ADHDers struggle to self generate motivation.

Also, it can help in building a routine as most things that you need to do for your pets have to be done on a fairly regular basis. It can also help in developing and maintaining a structure or you might find it easier to structure your entire day as there are certain things that have to be done every day at fixed times. For example, for me, I know that I can't stay at work till too late (something, I used to have huge problems with) as I know that I need to go home to spend some time with my budgies before they go to bed. So this helps me structure my entire working day better and slightly increases the motivation to get more work done earlier in the day rather than late at night. :rolleyes: Maybe it's similar for a child.

Another thing, is that realising that you can take care of something, in particular a living being, is really rewarding and can do wonders for your confidence and your self-esteem.

Also, particularly with dogs, I think, some ADHDers often feel misunderstood, alone and rather different to everyone else, so having a non-judgmental and loving friend like a dog can make you feel less alone, more accepted and just more loved (not saying that your child doesn't get enough love but having ADHD or any other disorder can at times make you feel rather isolated, unappreciated and alone). I think, you can derive a lot of comfort and support from a dog.

I can't really think of many disadvantages as long as you are happy to make sure that the dog is well cared for and to take over all aspects of his/her care in case your son forgets, loses interest or for whatever reason, just doesn't.

The only problem I can really think of is that sometimes ADHDers tend to hyperfocus on things they are extremely invested or interested in so it might happen that your son spends all his time and energy on his dog at the cost of school or his other responsibilities. I did that when I first got my budgies (and I still do it to an extent). I neglected EVERYTHING else. I spent all day long, including at work, reading up about budgies and I obsessed over absolutely everything that had to do with them. I also worried a lot about them and in the first few months I was anxious that actually it wasn't much fun. I was just **** scared all the time that I might do something wrong and my budgies will suffer for it. I also got into lots of arguments with my husband, since I wanted to everything regarding the budgies to be done MY way and maybe I even got possessive about them since taking care of them was the only thing I somehow managed to do and I didn't want to lose that. But that's probably just me. :-)

ccom5100
06-01-15, 09:28 AM
We got a dog when my gds was about that age. He is now 16 and still does not follow through on assigned tasks without being reminded and without complaining. This is a part of adhd and, as another poster said, it does not go away. His main job concerning the dog is to pick up the dog poop in the back yard. He has to be reminded! Other than that, a dog is a wonderful companion for an adhd kid, or for anyone. We all love our dog! She is a family pet and, as a family, we make sure that all her needs are met. If your son wants a dog, and you are willing to take the responsibility, then get him one; you won't regret it.

BellaVita
06-01-15, 09:29 AM
Yes to getting a pet!!!

I got my first *own* dog at age 13. (Although we had a family dog too at the time)

I researched and researched about dogs (it was one of my favorite topics at the time) and discovered which breed I thought would suit me.

I ended up picking a lovely blue Standard Poodle puppy.

Getting a dog definitely taught me responsibility, and it gave me a friend.

Having a dog was good motivation for me - helped me get exercise.

I also went to training classes each week, all the way up to the intermediate level.

I did have trouble sometimes with cleaning up my puppy's accidents and throw-up(she had a hard time adjusting to foods/ate too fast) but I eventually got used to it. It was helpful to have the cleaning supplies all in one place so I wouldn't be confused looking for it.

Also, having all of the doggie supplies(combs/brushes and toys) in one place - a foldable stylish pink box - was helpful.

Having a dog changed me. She was my best friend.

I would cry into her fur when I was sad, and laugh and jump around with her when I was happy.

One thing I did before getting the dog was write my parents a letter, typed out and everything. In that letter, I promised to be responsible and pointed to the ways I was responsible in real life as examples so that they knew I would take great care of her.

Your kid doesn't have to be perfect with responsibilities in real life though. Taking care of a dog is fun (for me) and that can make it easier.

Also, everyone being in charge of certain things/rotating certain tasks that involve caring for the dog are helpful. (Like, this person is in charge of brushing/feeding, this one in charge of baths and so on.) Then again, it might also confuse things too much and might want to take on a different approach. ;)

I know this isn't what you asked about in the OP - but I just wanna say to be mindful about which type a dog you pick. I suggest a low-maintenance dog since it will be your child's first, preferably one that doesn't shed much (so that it's okay to skip brushing hair) and a dog that isn't TOO high energy. Medium-energy level dogs are best. When evaluating a puppy from a litter, pick one that is submissive yet not in the back corner afraid. A calm-submissive dog will make training easier(and the dog will be more respectful of boundaries/limitations and easier to control.)

Also, considering the breed is important. (I suggest a breed that is easily-trainable, so less effort is required and quicker results achieved)

All in all, I think getting a pet (especially a dog!) is a GREAT idea!!!

:)

icarusinflames
06-01-15, 11:43 AM
In my personal, totally biased and subjective opinion, I think, a child with ADHD could benefit from having a pet as taking care of a beloved pet seems to have exactly the right combination of being incredibly important (in the sense that you know that if you don't take good care, your pet will suffer), incredibly rewarding and also lots of fun.

Also, particularly with dogs, I think, some ADHDers often feel misunderstood, alone and rather different to everyone else, so having a non-judgmental and loving friend like a dog can make you feel less alone, more accepted and just more loved

Fuzzy, you are so smart. You totally mentioned all the things I was thinking of, but couldn't really find the words for. I'm gonna add on to your fine advice here.

Yes! The fact that pets feel urgent to us, makes it easier to address their needs (which are relatively simple if you think about it). I think people were right to mention a concern that an ADHD child may not remember to do things, or may feel less motivation or activation to finish chores. But, just because something is not easy doesn't mean it can't happen. The urgent nature really helps me to care for my pets on a day when I don't even want to get out of bed.

I also enjoy the simple and consistent devotion of my dogs. I spend a lot of time with them though, and everything good that they receive comes from my hands. I think if your son actually takes over on all feedings and treats with your new dog you pick for him, he will have a very special friend who provides that sense of peace and "no emotional hyper-reactivity" regarding the dog's intentions towards him. Because unfortunately, a haunting trait of ADHD is to react against people or social situations with inner doubts and emotions that are not necessarily appropriate but are triggered by other people. It seems like we don't react that way with animals, so it's a nice vacation of love every day to spend time with your pet.

busymomonli
06-01-15, 04:43 PM
Our dog is my sons best friend. He doesn't have a lot of real life friends so he and our beagle have formed a wonderfully strong bond. He talks to him, plays with him, the dog even sleeps with him.

I absolutely think a pet can be a beneficial thing for a kid with a ADHD. Bear in mind, it is an entire family responsibility. I could not leave it up to him to feed and care for the dog 100%. I do most of the caregiving, which I don't mind because I love the dog too, but he does help. A pet will not take away any symptoms, but can be a lifelong friend. And to me, that is invaluable.

KentUnknown
06-01-15, 05:25 PM
The responsibility and what not is a bonus of getting dog. The best thing is that you are getting him a best friend, who will always love him! That, is priceless!

acdc01
06-02-15, 06:39 PM
Wow all the pro-pet posts here are making me change my mind. I'm all for a pet for your son if he wants it too!

Though I still stick by the make sure you want the pet too and that you're willing to take responsibility for it. If I was your son, I probably would be very responsible with the pet since I would love it so much. But after the first couple weeks or so where I'd want to show my appreciation to you, I'd start to slack off even more than before on my non-pet related responsibilities. Afterall, all my focus would now be on my pet - nevermind my other responsibilities.

sarahsweets
06-05-15, 11:27 AM
Having pets, especially dogs I feel, helps kids understand responsibility and how to sort of become less rigid and go with the flow more. For example, with dogs generally they are energetic lovey's who never fail to make me smile. The way they greet you after a 5 min trip to the store like its been a month melts my heart. Dogs are somewhat predictable but just their personalities can help kids understand that not everything in life can be planned. The same can be said for cats as well. The sudden darting to another room of the house as if they are on fire, and hiding in boxes and paper bags is wonderful! It sort of gives my house a controlled chao sort of thing. Nothing so predictable that its certain yet laid back and sort of going with the flow seems to have helped me and the kids. I dont think I am making much sense now that I re-read this so hopefully someone else will get it.

Twiggy
06-05-15, 10:09 PM
Getting a dog should be a family decision.
Most of the time kids don't train dogs by themselves too well.

I've seen plenty of dogs that get attached to one person in a family and it starts attacking others in the family because the dog feels like it has to protect that one person.
Then the dog usually gets thrown in the pound and killed.

Rob167
06-12-15, 09:44 AM
My boys are 8 and 10 now at 7 the oldest boy was crazy for a dog. A year ago we made the decision to get a dog. We made it a family project to look for a dog that had the best traits for us. It was super fun we used the Animal Planet Dog 101 videos on YOUTUBE and spent about 2 months looking for the right dog. It was cool because the boys learned so much about different dogs. After each video we would talk about what traits would be good and bad. We have had our dog a year now and I has been great and a nightmare at the same time. But that is with most pets. BUT my oldest boy with ADD is so attached and in love with our dog it is beautiful he plays and enjoys having her so much. My youngest boy NON ADD likes her but is NO where near as close to her. Getting a pet has enriched my boy life they are so happy to have a dog in the house. Hope this helps.

Flory
06-12-15, 10:14 AM
I'm sorry but I don't feel a pet should be an experiment in responsibility and especially not a dog they are intelligent and highly sociable animals that truly love their people.

They are a lot of responsibility I grew up with dogs but only now at 25 felt ready to get my first dog.
You've to to think of the big picture the "responsibility tool" will live for at least 10-15 years and what if he wants to go to college or move somewhere he can't have dogs ?

If he isn't responsible you could end up with a highly mischievous dog with poor people skills that could end up biting or it could end up very distressed ... It's just not fair to the dog, I'm sorry to come across rudely but i just hate this idea for a dog

Edit;however if you are prepared to welcome a dog to the family with the understanding that you will supervise it's care and that should the exercise in responsibility fail you can all take care of him/her then there is nothing wrong with it.
Dogs are amazing creatures and really are a part of the family

Lunacie
06-12-15, 12:33 PM
Have you had good experiences with getting a dog for an ADD child?

My husband (has ADD) wants our 9-year-old son to show sufficient responsibility BEFORE getting a pet, but I'm thinking that a pet would be invaluable in building responsibility (and we'll be walking along side him through this). The "responsibility" that my husband wants our son to exhibit before getting a pet of his own is following through on assigned tasks without being reminded and without complaining--I told him that I guess in that case we should start taking away HIS privileges 'cause he's 35 and hasn't mastered those skills.....

What would you say have been the greatest benefits of caring for and bonding with pets for your ADD child?

My ADHD granddaughter is 17 and has to be reminded of household chores
and helping care for the pets. But she has to be reminded to care for herself.
The bond between her and Max the chihuahua is so wonderful to see. It will
break his heart when she leaves next year for college. But he's old and it will
also break her heart when he dies, whether she's still at home or is away.

My Autistic granddaughter is 13 and has a wonderful bond with Pebbles the
guinea pig. Autistic kids hate baths and showers, and having the piggie has
been great because she can take a bath with my g-daughter. She provides
snuggly comfort when my g-daughter is upset. She helps my g-daughter
relax and fall asleep at night. She soothes my g-daughter when she's sick.

In the last year my g-daughter has become more responsible in feeding both
guinea pigs.

What your hubby is saying is what teens have been hearing forever.
They won't hire a teen without experience, but if no one hires the teen how
does the teen GET the experience? Getting your son a dog will help him learn
how to be responsible so that he can earn other responsibility. That's good, eh?

tinybike
06-12-15, 02:33 PM
I would be inclined to say that a dog is a very large responsibility for a nine-year-old. Pets are wonderful, but they are not novelties. If you are not already dog people, then you are setting yourself up for two ADHD children - one of whom cannot speak or use a toilet! For a child, two is almost always better than one (at least, I can't imagine my life if I hadn't grown up with siblings!!); I'm sure it is for parents, too. It's just that much more work.

There are lots of ways to teach responsibility that do not hinge on the well-being of a living being, or that do in a more controlled way, at least to start. I was in riding lessons at that age, and I had to do work at the stable as part of it. I also participated in a young naturalist's society, which did bird-watching excursions. Those were really exciting to me as a huge nerd and animal lover. Team sports, clubs, lessons (if not piano, then how about skateboarding? archery? guitar?) - these can be relatively accessible if you know where to look. They teach perhaps the more important skill of delayed gratification and incremental improvement, and they can be pretty off-beat and fun so it's not a chore.

Another kind of pet may be an easier option, too, if it is something you are sure you want. I have a cat and she is very much like a dog, except that she is easy to exercise indoors and she does not bark. She's very affectionate and she needs me enough that I have someone to think about who isn't myself, but not so much that I have to worry if I am away all day. Still have to pick up her poop, though. :(

Full disclosure, I did get a german shepherd puppy when I was 11 and we were glued at the hip. She and I did everything together. If there ever was an indication that hyperfocus is a reality for me, it's been in my interactions with and complete devotion to that dog. Knowing that bond and how very much she needed to be taken care of is what has kept me from having another. I just couldn't bring myself to have a dog just to say I do, when I pull 16 hour days on the regular. It will have been worth the wait when I do get to have a dog of my own, just to know that I did right by the dog by being patient.

sarahsweets
06-20-15, 05:20 AM
Something I should have said from the beginning: Getting a pet just to teach someone responsibility is like a couple who has a baby to "save" the marriage.

Fuzzy12
06-20-15, 07:21 AM
Can I just say on behalf of the op (who's probably disappeared :scratch: :

They've got experience with raising dogs, already have a pair of dogs currently, the parents are going to be responsible for the care of the dog and their kid would love to have a dog...:cool:

LynneC
06-29-15, 01:33 PM
Have you had good experiences with getting a dog for an ADD child?

My husband (has ADD) wants our 9-year-old son to show sufficient responsibility BEFORE getting a pet, but I'm thinking that a pet would be invaluable in building responsibility (and we'll be walking along side him through this). The "responsibility" that my husband wants our son to exhibit before getting a pet of his own is following through on assigned tasks without being reminded and without complaining--I told him that I guess in that case we should start taking away HIS privileges 'cause he's 35 and hasn't mastered those skills.....

What would you say have been the greatest benefits of caring for and bonding with pets for your ADD child?
We just got a puppy about 2 months ago; my son has just turned 13. He's done a very good job, for the most part, with helping to take care of her. That being said, I still have to remind him all the time about what he's supposed to be doing with her.:)

From my perspective, the best thing about owning a dog is the unconditional affection that a dog offers. For my son in particular, I think that it's not so much that he has certain responsibilities that he is obligated to perform, but rather that that he has another being whom he feels responsible for, if that makes any sense.

Matador
08-03-15, 09:37 AM
Having a dog is not just having a dog, it's adding a new family member to the family.

If your child loves animals, that will only intensify it. I unfortunately had a dog as a kid, and my parents being frmo south america didn't understand how dogs aren't just 'dogs' and as he got older, I left, went to school, my parents just loved him, but soon he became a burden.

My father who suffers frmo ADD but doesn't know it, lacked interest in the dog after a while and did the very least possible for him. It wasn't until I was with someone who had the education and idea of how to take care of dogs did I realize what my parents were doing wrong (including myself). My dog lived a better last couple of years before we had to put him down, but if your husband doesn't see the dog as part of the family or isn't a 'pet' person, I would say avoid getting the dog for the dogs sake.

Noubarian
02-07-16, 12:28 AM
I went against my hubby's wishes and got our 9 year old son a kitten, my hubby does not beleive ADHD exists even though he is living in a house with 2 of us) and even he says he has noticed a big difference since xmas ( month and a half ago) my son stays calmer And when he does get upset i've taught him to pick up the cat and pet her for awhile - always works. My mom did this with me when I was young and animals are my best friends now - so much better than people (sorry, guys) they have a calming effect and look so cute you just can't be mad at them,

sarahsweets
02-07-16, 07:25 AM
I went against my hubby's wishes and got our 9 year old son a kitten, my hubby does not beleive ADHD exists even though he is living in a house with 2 of us) and even he says he has noticed a big difference since xmas

I hope he changes his view soon. Kids can pick up on these things.

midnightstar
02-07-16, 12:15 PM
Haven't yet finished reading through the thread so this may have already been said, I've seen all too often when I volunteered in rescue families handing in the pet because the kids got bored and the parents didn't want the responsibility of looking after the pet. Whether it's a cat, dog or any other animal every member of the family needs to be 100% on board with the idea, otherwise it's the pet that suffers.

I personally haven't ever had a dog, partly because the hours I work means I'm out from 10am through to 8pm and there would be no way for the dog to go for a walk or use the toilet so even when my fearful-of-dogs cat has gone, I won't be getting a dog because I don't feel it would be fair on the dog.

Mantaray14
03-02-16, 12:07 PM
We just got a dog for our son (hes an only child) and it was one of the best things we ever did for him. But we have other pets and we are all committed to caring for them. He takes some responsibility for his dog but we don't expect 100%, we all pitch in. We also have a decent yard and found a good companion breed for him (poodle/golden mix), and he literally spent hours with the dog before deciding to take him home. There were many before that he looked at but decided against. They are BFFs and he has been happier then ever. The golden-doodle also helped our other dog feel less lonely who was a rescue with anxiety issues...make sure you choose the dog carefully with breed and individual tempermant in mind and are committed to caring for the animals.

ginniebean
03-02-16, 12:44 PM
I think every kid should have a pet. Even kids without adhd are NOTORIOUS for not being responsible for them, so you have to decide just how important that is for you.

We had cats, and two adhd boys. I believe kids NEED pets. A pet will love you when no one else seems to. That emotional support is worth it's weight in gold.

My boys are both pet lovers to this day, they'd not even consider living without one.

(they're now 29 and 31 so not technically boys anymore)

I say give the child a pet, it's such a healthy bond.

oh this was dug up from the graveyard.. anyhoo, still applies

Fuzzy12
03-02-16, 01:38 PM
I agree that pets are good for everyone, kids, kids with ADHD, adults, etc. Kids can learn so much and pets can be such a huge source of emotional support. And yeah, I also prefer my pets to most humans.

I also agree with Midnightstar though that however beneficial having a pet might be you should never get one unless everyone living in that house in on board. I know that a lot of shelters here insist on interviewing everyone in the family (or maybe just the adults, I'm not sure) before they allow you to adopt a pet. I don't think it's a good idea to get a pet against your partner's wishes. It's not good for the pet and it's disrespectful to your partner..irrespective of the positive effect it might have on your child.

JohnOnTheWeb
03-03-16, 10:54 PM
I am not sure while growing up if I had ADHT but I certainly had trouble relating to others and the dogs in my life were at times the only being I could relate to. I remember crawling in to bed at nights in my worst moments and hugging them while I went to sleep in tears.

My son struggled for a number of years with school. We believed our child was perfect and never really considered a learning disability was possible...he was just lazy and did not appreciate school. He got more and more depressed and our family life became more and more bleak until finally out of desperation when he turned 15 we got counselling. In three months he was diagnosed, in four he was put on medication that allowed him to focus while at school and this year he went to college.

The medication and the change was a life changing moment for our family and it is my biggest regret in life we did not seek help sooner. That being said we have two labs and these were his dogs. At times I am sure he was struggling living up to expectations and his parents ignorance of his challenges and the only comfort he got was to the two warm bodies at his feet.

Every boy needs a dog or two.