Our lovely Minkie Moo

Sandy Point

Sandy Point

You’ve probably heard me talking about Minka, our lovely black lab. She’s a companion dog, or, if you like, a reject guide dog. (For the Australian readers, a John West dog!) Here in Australia we have a Guide Dog association and every year they sell off maybe 6 dogs that didn’t quite make the cut as guide dogs. These go to special needs people. I had heard of them a while back but as we had an old maltese that was outside most of the time we didn’t think it was fair to get another dog that would be predominantly inside. When Molly died I called the Guide Dog association and got put on to their vast waiting list. We were on the list for 2 years before we got her but she’s well worth the wait. (There is now also an association that breeds and raises puppies especially for autistic kids called autism assistance dogs. They’re called Righteous Pups and are based in Geelong. I don’t know how long their waiting list would be.)

During this time I met my friend Dom, her daughter Chantelle and their dog Zeea at the local park. I noticed that Chantelle was autistic and picked Dom up for the HAGS Group. Dom then told me about her dog being a companion dog and how they’d only had him a few weeks but what a difference he’d made. I also read a book called A friend Like Henry about a boy in the UK who was autistic and how he was helped by the love of his dog. It was so inspiring to read and made me all the more excited about our upcoming arrival. As Beth kept waiting and waiting I bought different things each month to make it clear that yes, it was happening, just not yet.

 When we first got Minka Bridie was really scared of dogs so I made sure she was delivered when it was just me at home. I was so worried that if they saw that Bridie was scared that they would change their mind. I took her round to pick up Bridie then took her off to school to pick up Beth and Bill. All 3 kids took to her straight away and school even said that when she settled in that she could come to school with Beth in her companion capacity. Problem was we soon found out why she was a reject!

Minka loves to sniff so pulls you all over the place if she can. She also loves other dogs to death, so if off for a walk she gets very excited when she sees another dog and is very hard to control. And she loves to chew things, something we’ve found out if we’ve left her alone for a little while, she’ll chew something up or get into the bin. And lastly, and it’s a goody, believe me, she likes to poo in the bedroom when she first checks out a house. She did it when she first came home, then when visiting my friend Prue (just after getting her carpet steam cleaned I might add) she disappeared for a while. I could smell something and upon investigating found it! And as I’m sure you all know, a lab doesn’t do small dainty poos either!

I had a conversation with an old friend about it one night and we were in fits of laughter. Imagine a blind person getting up in the morning only to swing his legs over the bed and them landing in one of Minka’s surprises. Then reaching out for his cane only to find that Minka had chewed the end off. Finally going off for a walk only to be dragged across the road in front of a truck so that she could sniff another dogs bum! That’s why she didn’t make it to guide dog status!

Beth does adore Minka and she has her to sleep in her room. I was pleased that we didn’t get a boy dog because I was worried that Beth might be playing with his penis the whole time. My friend Catriona informs me that yes, that’s exactly what her son does with their dog so it wasn’t just me! Of course Beth always wants more. She wants a little lap dog too cos she can pick them up and carry them around. Prue has a little dog by the name of Grizzabella, Minka’s best friend. Beth loves Grizzy and every time Prue is visiting the dogs mysteriously goes missing. Every time they’re over Beth asks if she can keep Grizzy and we patiently tell her that no, Prue and the kids would be very sad if they didn’t have her anymore. When it comes time to go we’re searching high and low and Beth swears blind that no, she didn’t know where Grizzy was. Then we’d find her in the cupboard or in the toybox half an hour later! Beth’d be in her room by then and later would slip out quietly and go to her hiding spot. Then you’d here the wail “oooooh, where’s Grizzy gone, Prue said I could keep her!” Don’t tell me autistic kids don’t have imaginations or can’t lie for that matter!

About Sarah

Mother of an autistic child wanting to write about my personal experiences
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