learning to navigate the world, j-bear style

The Precious Dog

There are some to whom I may seem obsessed when it comes to J’s service dog.

I can’t see it as obsessed, for I place the same level of importance on any and all accessible tools and therapies I can find for him. I see it as doing what’s right for someone I love who needs a voice.

Does this make me a bad person? Too singularly focused? Too narrow in the direction I am driving? Maybe.

Can I feel badly about it? Not completely. Not even halfway, I think.

I have one son. One dear, small half-me person who relies on me for everything. If I had other children, the same determined dogged pursuit of all things they need and some things they want would extend to them as well. Right now, though, and likely forever I just have J. He is my world.

Yes, the dog is very precious for us. He or she embodies safety, security, companionship, assistance… This dog will open up doors to my son that I alone cannot. I can give him therapists. I can give him great schooling. I can implement his therapy at home but there is always a slight piece missing and this dog can fill those holes. He or she will be a challenge in and of themselves, for they are a dog. A living, breathing, decision-making being who will also rely on me for care and structure.

I embrace that.

The work, the devotion of the time to both boy and dog that is to come, it will be a small price to pay for my son’s world being allowed to open wider. It feels an utter pittance in comparison to knowing that if, God above forbid it, my son got away from me that he could stand a significantly higher chance of being brought back safely home.

So I will continue to pursue our fundraising. I will continue to beat the drum seeking support for his and 4 Paws cause. I won’t relent, cause this is bigger than “just a dog”. This is my son’s life, growth and care we’re talking about and there’s nothing too good for any of that.


  1. Jessica N and Makiko

    You see spot on on what a service dog will provide. I wish you the best in continue to fundraise and I can’t wait to follow your story! You sound like an amazing advocate for your son!

    • nicole

      Thank you so much! Fundraising so very much seems like the hardest part but I am sure I have many surprises yet to come in that regard 😉

  2. Ann Kilter

    We never had a service dog, but we did have dogs. Trixie was the dog of our children’s childhoods. Daisy came to us after Trixie died. Dogs don’t talk, but they communicate, which is so important for our children. They communicate without the burden of words, so it is easier, I think, for our children to love them and receive their love. My son was adverse to touch, but a dog will insist on being touched and touching our children. I really think that helped immensely.

    • nicole

      What animals can do for kids, be they special needs or not, just blows me away. I try to expose J to animals whenever possible, be it trying horseback riding or meeting dogs and cats that belong to trusted friends, etc. He always seems to respond well and you have it right, the interaction is completely no pressure. If I had not found out about the benefits of an autism service dog I would have pursued a pet just for the companionship factor. I am glad your son had Trixie then Daisy to be companions to him. As a little girl, I had a cocker spaniel named Prince and then took care of a couple springer spaniels who got me through the worst parts of my childhood. They never judged me, never lied to me and always made me feel calm and safe… Of course that is something I very much want for my boy as we all want that for our kids.

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