Saturday, 18 October 2014

Puppy Love

Yesterday a 9 week old Irish Terrier became part of our family unit and life may never be the same again!!

Our children have named him Ludo – it is the one board game that they all play together and so has a special association to them.  We wanted a name that meant something to all three children and it has taken a lot of suggestions from Ruckley (our eldest son plays rugby and is learning to ruck at the moment) to Scrabble (our daughter loves this game) before we settled on Ludo.

The first 24 hours of Ludo’s life with us has been a whirlwind.  He arrived at 6.30pm last night after my husband had driven a 5 hour round trip to collect him.  It was not ideal timing as our youngest son has his swimming lesson at 7pm on a Friday, so I went out with all 3 kids before 6.30pm to ensure they all met Ludo at home at the same time, rather than our two eldest children getting to spend some time with him before our youngest son came home from swimming.  I’ve never seen such a determined face on our youngest son during his swimming lesson as I did last night, he did everything he was told to so that the lesson could finish on time and we could drive home. 

Ludo was quiet and nervous when we walked in the door.  I had told the kids to be quiet so they didn’t scare Ludo – not an easy task for 3 excited children.  All they wanted to do was scream and shout as they finally had Ludo at home with them.  Our youngest son has been marking off his countdown chart each day for the past two weeks, since we chose Ludo and had a huge smile on his face when he walked in the door.

The children went out in the garden to play with Ludo.  He was more interested in exploring the flower beds and trying to jump up on the trampoline.  He seems to have a fetish for feet and wanted to nibble our daughter’s shoes.  She screamed and started to run around the trampoline which Ludo thought was an exciting game and so he ran faster to catch up with her!

When we decided to put Ludo to bed in his crate, so that he could go to sleep after his stressful day, the children went up to their beds without any fuss.  Something that can be unheard of in our house – they must have listened to my social story of telling them that they need to be upstairs before Ludo is put to bed.  Although we had prepared them that Ludo would cry, as he would be missing his mum and siblings, we hadn’t mentioned he might howl.  They were all distressed at the noise Ludo made when he was put in his crate and wanted to rush downstairs to see what was wrong and thought I was being very harsh when I said we must leave him on his own.  They paced up and down the landing for 10 minutes until quietness fell and Ludo had gone to sleep.  When he started howling again at 4am to say he had been to the toilet, no one heard him but me!!

Today our eldest son decided a trip to Pets at Home was in order, as Ludo did not have enough toys.  He’s going to need his own toy box at this rate!!  The rest of the day has been spent playing with Ludo in the garden, telling him to go to the toilet to avoid too many accidents happening indoors and this afternoon the children built an assault course in the garden comprising of a skateboard ramp for Ludo to launch himself into a paddling pool and posts to weave in and out of on the grass.  They have decided amongst themselves that today has been day one of Ludo’s training to be the next winner of Britain’s Got Talent, just like Pudsey the dog did a couple of years ago.  The fact that Ludo is still learning his name, has no idea what the commands ‘sit’ or ‘stay’ mean does not matter.  In their eyes, he is going to be a national treasure next year and they will get the chance to appear on tv.   Although our youngest son has made it clear that he will be standing in the wings, as he does not like any attention on him. 

Tonight they have sat down and written a training programme, as well as a set of ‘Ludo Rules’ just like we have ‘Family Rules’.

Dogs are said to be calming for children with Autism and maybe Ludo will prove to have this effect.  He should give us the chance to go out and do things as a family as we can all take Ludo for a walk.  We will take each day as it comes but so far it is a positive start.  Our three children are working as a team, which is not a mean feat in our house with two ASD children, who generally want things on their terms. 

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