Yesterday, I started work on Kender’s “Making a Good Match” form for 4 Paws. I’m posting the process of filling out the forms and making the video here for two reasons: 1) to keep me on track by reminding me to do something every day, and 2) to provide a forum for folks to offer input or help on the process. Today is page 2 of the match form.
Has your child had contact with dogs? Frequently. My mother has a small dog, one of my girls’ friends has a toy dog, and there are other dogs in the neighborhood.
How does your child react to dogs? I would put this somewhere between “acknowledges” and “makes a little contact”. He resists any urging to say hi to a new dog or pet a dog, often trying to hide. My mother’s dog he will tolerate instead of running away from, and will occasionally try to engage in play. This usually doesn’t end well because Pixie doesn’t understand Kender and just barks, and he thinks that’s funny.
Is your child very physical with dogs? Not really, mostly because he has never been around one long enough to be comfortable touching and petting the way he will do to the cats. Even Pixie staying with us for a week at a time isn’t quite enough.
What does your child like about dogs? I circled “play with them,” “lay with them”, and “lay on them,” because when I think about it, I can recall Kender doing that once or twice with Pixie, using her belly for a pillow. He likes to get in her face and hear her bark or yip, too.
My child likes to touch/play with: I circled “mouth” and “fur”, mostly tummies, because that’s what he plays with. I should also circle “tail”, I guess, since he thinks it’s pretty funny to get tickled by tails. He likes it when the cats do it, too, and he’ll play with my braids the same way.
Anything else they like about dogs? The noises they make. Kender really likes sudden, strange, loud noises, and always has. This is unusual for an autistic child, but with Kender I think it is probably more related to blindness. As a baby, Kender reacted to me making strange noises with my voice the way another baby would react to mommy making funny faces.
What doesn’t your child like about dogs? He doesn’t like being jumped on and having his face licked. That will make him completely shut down and refuse to face a dog.
Anything else they do not like about dogs? Unpredictability, I think. I think a calm, well-trained dog would be better for him, and I think he would enjoy active play once he knows the dog and knows what to expect, but he wants it slow and on his terms.
Would you child enjoy giving treats? Throwing a ball? Petting and Snuggling? Yes to all of these, once he is shown and gets used to the individual dog. I need to do more of this with him and Pixie, to get him used to the idea and see how he responds.
What kind of dog best suits them? “Slug” is the first option here, which I find absolutely hilarious. I chose both “Calm” and “Playful”, because Kender needs a calm dog most of the time, but would enjoy a dog who can be playful within boundaries when Kender initiates the play.
What size of dog best suits your child? Here I chose “Very large” because Kender is pretty strong, and based on his siblings and his birthweight there is a good chance he will be a big kid as he grows. He will need a big, strong dog to complement him and provide the calming and tethering skills.