Sox (White Sox) is Tucker’s puppy. Well…she’s kind of a dog – but we still call her a puppy.
You may have read about her in one of these posts:
After our 4th of July party my dad said to me, “I think she gets Tucker because she, too, has autism.” This made me happy because he really is recognizing so many of the signs.
Then, I laughed.
Now? Now that I’ve been paying attention I think he may be right. Now – obviously I would NEVER directly compare dogs to having autism – but I think using these comparisons are a good way for those who have never really been around someone with autism to recognize just a few of the characteristics. Here are just a few examples…
- On the 4th of July Sox was terrified of the noise of the fireworks. She found a quiet space (the bathroom) and somehow shut herself in. She was happy. This is sensory overload.
- When we have a gathering, Sox runs around like a maniac. This maniacal behavior? It mirrors what happens when Tucker is overloaded. This is sensory overload.
- Sox is always in ‘my way.’ If I’m in the kitchen she’s standing between me and whatever it is I need. She steps on my feet constantly. This is ‘grounding.‘
- I have to tell Sox the same thing over and over and over again. This is used constant and consistency.
- If you have a free hand she will nudge you until you pet her. When you pet her…she’ll be calm. This is more grounding.
- She follows the rules and does what I ask her to do. This is about following rules.
- She wants to play, but doesn’t always know her strength. This is a proprioceptive problem.
- Sox likes her schedule and if something is ‘off’ she gets a bit ornery.This is about scheduling.
- If she is naughty her ‘self shame’ is out of control, we have to quickly forgive her so she will stop sulking. This is about having plenty of grace and compassion.
- Sox is not adventurous. She was never (not even as a puppy) one to really get into things. This is not enjoying new adventures.
- She’s loving in ways that surprise me. For instance, we recently rescued a kitten in our yard that was abandoned by her mother. Here is Sox cleaning her. Who says puppies and kittens can’t be friends? This is about having empathy, and lots of it.
Most of all? Most of all Sox has autism because she is fiercely loyal – and if there is one quality of Tucker’s that I would choose to ‘put on display’ it would be loyalty. Loyalty is a characteristic found often in people with autism.
People with autism (or autistic people…depending on preference) tend to be very open and honest. They are not likely to try to manipulate a person or situation. Why? Well – one of the things that we know about Tucker is that he relies on rules and processes. From an early age he was taught that ‘friends should be loyal and help each other. Friends shouldn’t cut each other down.”
We’ve often explained this loyalty to teachers – especially ‘new’ teachers. Once you have him – he’s yours. he will do just about anything you ask. However – if you break this trust? It’s gone. For good.
So…there we have it. Tucker has autism. Tucker’s dog apparently also has autism. When Tucker comes home from being gone I tell him I missed him and hug him. When Tucker comes home from being gone Sox runs around him, licking him, and won’t leave his side for a couple of hours.
Maybe this is why….maybe this is why Sox just ‘gets’ Tuck. She knows when he needs her and she lets him do just about anything to her until he’s happy.
Two peas in a pod, for sure – and neither are huge vegetable fans.