(And today I'm off to Berlin Film Festival to watch my sister's doco - I'll see you there...)
This is Tallulah, ten, and her new dog. We haven't met this wonderfully wet-nosed, tail-wacking galloloping little guy yet, but he is out there. My heart sinks.
|Me and my puppy, by Tallulah, 10
All these years with four kids I've resisted getting a pet. "Nothing else in the house that poops" has been my rule. But we've been no match for the pestering powers of a tweeny girl who's filled her two-year campaign with folders, drawings and a ten-page essay about how much she will love him.
My final "yes" came last weekend after reading one of the comments on a New York Times story about the powers of a dog. The comment was a poem by David, written when he was 10 years old, and was so moving it drew 253 responses. David is now a very handsome 16. His mother, Linda, is a friend of mine and she tells their story....
"When my son David and I read the article Wonder Dog in the New York Times it immediately brought to mind our wonderful dog Goldie. David has been autistic since he regressed when he was two. Before that he was talking and playing like any child his age. Over a 3 month period he lost those skills and since then has been non-verbal and considered on the severe end of the autism spectrum. Despite every effort possible (we tried them all sparing no expense or effort) David has not improved.
David loved hugging one of our friend's dog and we debated getting one. David also never slept which made the idea of caring for one more creature just a tad exhausting. One day when he was four, we went Christmas shopping and saw a row of dogs waiting to be adopted on the side walk. One look into that rascally mutt's eyes told us she was the dog for us.
|Goldie and David at home
The rescue agency warned us that she was "exuberant" but that was exactly what we needed. A dog that insisted to be played with. She and David spent many happy hours playing together and I knew that he was safe under her watchful eyes. Once she even pulled me out of the bathroom and to the window to show me that David had gotten out of the house. Lassie had nothing on Goldie! I often laughed that the mutt from the pound did him more good that all the neurologists and therapists we saw.
David has an amazing mind trapped in a body that does not do what he wants it to. Cuddling Goldie, David could feel where his hands were, where his body was.
Unfortunately, when David was ten, Goldie died after being hit by a car. We mourned her passing, she was that once-in-a-lifetime dog. David has never learned to speak again, but he has learned to type (albeit painstakingly slow). He once loved writing poetry and wrote this poem in honor of her:
Bye Golden Dream Dog
Dog you are free and
your soft brown eyes see the word as big
your strong fast legs run and run
you are at home in a countryside
you run free.
You are mine Goldie
you were my friend without ignoring me
you were a boy's dream come to life
you knew how I wanted to play
you were friend to me.
Dog you were
You were Goldie.
We loved you
so goodbye with tears and a toss of a ball
be happy and wait
we will play again.