There was one post where I mentioned Dude’s take on dogs.
To orient yourself, please read it here. Take your time, I’ll wait.
I often read about the amazing connection people with autism have with animals, especially dogs.
Well, Dude must have missed the memo.
He HATES dogs.
Let me clarify. The conclusion that we’ve come to is that Dude doesn’t like dogs that bark. Which is a shame, because that’s what dogs do.
Our parents would love to get another dog some day, but they know it isn’t in the cards. Dude would be on edge in his own house. That’s not fair to him.
A couple weeks ago, our parents had a meeting up at Dude’s program during the evening hours. They didn’t want to have to take him, so they asked my aunt and uncle if they would mind watching Mr. Dude at their house for a few hours.
This particular aunt and uncle recently lost their beloved 12 year old Bijon-Shih Tzu mix, Shelby. They tried to fight the urge to go out and get another dog, but they lasted only a month before they brought their new puppy, Baxter, home.
When Dad walked into our aunt and uncle’s house with Dude, the puppy immediately started excitedly barking. Dude was having none of it.
“No home yet!” he stated, beadily eyeing little Baxter. (To understand Dude’s use of the word “no,” kindly refer to the Dude Language Guide.)
Dad replied, “You’re going to hang out here with your aunt and uncle while Mom and I go to a meeting. Julianne will be here soon to pick you up.” (It just so happened that I was coming back to the suburbs that night for a weekend visit. I had offered to pick up Dude on my way home.)
Dude didn’t like Dad’s explanation and tried to follow him out the front door when he went to leave.
No more than 20 minutes later, I showed up.
As soon as I walked in the door, Dude spotted me.
“No home yet!” he said as he started to head for the door.
“Wait a second, bud,” I answered. “I haven’t seen Aunt Marie and Uncle Mike in a while. Give me a second to talk to them.”
A second turned into an hour and a half.
About five minutes after I got there, they offered to share some of their chicken pot pie with me for dinner.
I looked at a tense Dude and looked at the chicken pot pie. The dinner won out. Who am I to turn down a delicious meal that I hardly ever get to eat?!
“Well, maybe we’ll stay just a little bit longer,” I answered as the chicken pot pie went into the oven.
I could practically feel the exasperation radiating off of Mr. Dude as he saw me take off my coat and sit down.
“No home yet. No home yet,” he said, staring me down. The puppy was quietly napping now behind the kitchen table, but Dude kept craning his neck to keep little Baxter in his sights. He didn’t want to be surprised by any stealth barking attacks.
We managed to coax him into the recliner in the family room to watch some of the Duke vs. FSU game. Dude sat there, morosely staring at me as I ate dinner. (By the way, I should say that Dude had eaten dinner before he arrived at our aunt and uncle’s house. We weren’t denying him food!)
As soon as I was finished eating, Dude made a beeline for his coat.
“Goodbyyyyyye,” he said in his sing-songy voice.
Once we were in the car, Dude put his latest favorite CD in the player and let his body relax.