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Flash - A Petfinder Happy Tail

Photo of Flash, a dog
Adopted from Animal Rescue League, Marshalltown, IA

Flash - posted 08/09/2010

From Margo of Grundy Center, IA

How are lives changed in a "Flash"- how 2 special needs boys and one special needs dog found unconditional love.

Having 2 boys that are on the "autism spectrum" sure makes life interesting. However, when my oldest son had a profound change in his behavior- a new diagnosis emerged- bipolar with psychosis. This unfortunately has left him with episodes of depression- sleeping all day- no smiles- no jokes- no happy laughter. Although we have a regular Noah's ark with cats, birds, tortoises, fish, and a chinchilla- there seemed to be no "true" best friend that openly and routinely showed preference for spending time with Alex. I was looking on Petfinder for a dog, and hadn't decided upon a breed. I, like any reasonable parent would do, had put my own desires second to those of my boys. Had the choice been for a dog for me- a pomeranian would have been easy; as it has been my favorite breed for 25 years. However, this was not to be MY dog- but OUR dog- a dog would would fit OUR family. A dog with an even temperament, already housebroken, smart, sturdy- as to be able to withstand the activities of 2 autistic boys, a dog with a lower energy level- that need not be walked 3 miles everyday, a dog who would be quiet and relaxed- one that could project it's clam energy in our house. A dog that could help to build nurture self-esteem and confidence in Alex.

A good friend and fellow dog enthusiast suggested that we look for a basset hound. My previous knowledge of bassets were that they tend to relatively low energy, smart, loyal, calm, consistently tempered, and good with kids. What SOUNDED like a good match turned out to be a PERFECT match. We found Flash right away. A well trained, neutered, and friendly Basset hound only a half hour away. The shelter said that the previous owners had given him up because he was too hyper. A basset hound, being hyper in and of itself appears to be an impossibility to begin with; however TOO hyper- for who? If you have a pulse and can walk a block- I think a basset thinks it is well exercised. And then the final bit of information, Flash is heartworm positive. He was in need of serious vet care to save his life. Perhaps this was the little nugget of information that his previous owner did not disclose- as they didn't want or couldn't afford the intense treatment. Well, their loss is our gain. Flash has an appointment this week with my vet- who has already quoted the cost of $200 for treatment. However, based upon the smiles and looks of confidence from Alex when he proudly walks his new best friend every day- this is a very small price to pay for the remarkable psychotherapy that Flash has accomplished in only a few short days with my son. My hope and prayer is that with rigorous treatment, and routine preventative care- this 8 year old gentleman will see Alex off to college someday. And when indeed this fantastic dog is called to the rainbow bridge- many years into the future- I will STILL be indebted for the joy, serenity, self-esteem, laughter,and love he brought our family. WE LOVE YOU FLASH!

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