My dog, Snowy, turned 10 years old back on Saturday. My family and I first got Snowy when I was in 6th grade, which was back in 2009. My brother always wanted to have a pet, so he wrote a letter to my parents about having a pet. My parents were convinced, and we decided to get a dog as our family pet. My siblings and I knew from the beginning though that having a pet, like a dog, would be a lot of responsibility.
I will never even forget the day when Snowy came home with my family. As soon as we brought him inside my house from the pet store, I was scared about him jumping on me, since I noticed he was jumping on everyone else. I’ve grown up being sensitive by touch, such as something that touches against my skin. I was so sensitive by touch from my dog that every time he ran towards me to come jump on me, I would get scared and run away from him. I have felt bad for not loving my dog at first, but I was still overcoming my own obstacles of sensitivity at that time.
Over the years, I have grown to love my dog so much! Snowy has became a really good companion to me, no matter what went on for me in and out of home. I enjoy having him right next to me on the couch when I watch TV and petting him, no matter what room I would be in the house. I love to take him on walks in the mornings and evenings, because its the time I get to be alone with him and enjoy the fresh air outside; Mainly, I am the one who takes Snowy on walks around the community. My parents and my siblings do help out with taking care of Snowy too in other ways: bathing him, feeding him, taking him for his vet check-ups, and giving him haircuts. If it wasn’t for Snowy, he would not have helped me overcome my sensitive to touch and taught me about being a responsible person.
I will be completely honest with all of you, I did not really want to have a pet dog at first. My experiences with animals in general were not great, since being more sensitive by touch back then. For example, I was at a birthday sleepover party for a classmate of mine back when I was in 5th grade, and when I woke up in my sleeping bag, her large, black dog got so alerted that it jumped on top of my head to get to the her house’s front door. And this happened while I was still awaking up within my sleeping bag! I got so scared myself that I jumped right out of my sleeping bag. My classmate’s mom felt bad that this happened, and learned I was scared of their pet dog. My point is that if an animal got close to my skin, like people’s pets, I use to get scared. Anyone that I knew that I were going to their house to hangout with would make sure to have their pet(s), like their dog, in their room, so their pet would not scare me. Today, I am much better about pets in peoples’ houses because I am not as sensitive by touch as I used to be.
For anyone that is working or taking care of a person/student with Autism and is figuring out if owning a pet is good for them, I feel and believe that having a pet is a great way to help them learn to overcome personal obstacles and develop a sense of responsibility. For example, I would not have developed good, time management if it weren’t for Snowy; I had to learn to make time in my routine to walk Snowy in the mornings and evenings. Plus, I learned to help out in general because I want to, not for rewards or anything. In all, I am so happy to have Snowy in my life!