Autism and Making Important Observations
Subtitle: Autism and Meaning Well
Putting our dog to sleep
We recently had to put our dog to sleep.
She was only nine and a half years old.
My son was seven when we got here. She was “his dog.”
How did my son do with this sad event?
I’ll discuss the one autism-like response that my son had below. It has to do with the subtitle to this blog, Autism and Meaning Well.
When we got the call that our dog was declining quickly and we needed to go put her down, I told my son. He said he was sad, even though he didn’t show it outwardly. I certainly believed him, not all people show their emotions outwardly.
An emergency vet
My husband, son, and I drove to the emergency vet. We were informed that our dog was still alive, but barely. She was about to go.
We were told that she was suffering and had to be put down.
We knew this on the drive to the vet. My husband and I discussed this with our son, why we believed it was the right thing to do if our dog was suffering.
What happened when we got there?
The vet’s office put us into a “comfort room.” Then, we were brought back to see our dog. The vet was there to discuss what was happening to her, and explain how they would put her down.
We talked to our dog, not sure she was hearing us.
When it was time to put her down, they asked us if we wanted to stay.
My husband and I said, “yes,” but our son said, “no.” He wanted to wait in the comfort room.
That was fine with us.
The vet put our dog to sleep while my husband and I were touching her.
What happened after that?
They let us go back to the comfort room while they prepared our dog for a final visit.
We all agreed we wanted to see her one last time. My son said, “I didn’t want to be there when they put her to sleep, but I’d like to say goodbye to her.”
While we waited, my son made an awesome comment.
He has a rather unique ability to act like or appear as if he’s not taking in his surroundings, yet he’ll then come up with such great observations.
Privately, he said, “Those people have a hard job.” He was referring to the folks that work at a vet’s office. He had observed that they’re job must be emotionally difficult because they have to put animals to sleep. They have to talk to the owners, watch animals die, and then dispose of the animals.
He was so empathic. He was admiring those workers. And, boy, was I impressed by his observation.
He was right. Those folks do have a tough job.
What about the autism-like response that my son had initially?
Remember the subtitle, Autism and Meaning Well.
This was one of those times.
My son has an obsession with the country, Poland. Let’s just say that lots of people with autism get obsessions. It was not uncommon for my son to have one.
His latest one is Poland.
So, to “honor our dog,” my son wanted to do what he does when he goes gaming, he wanted to wear his Polish flag to the vet’s office.
Well, I had to think twice about that.
Because I knew he meant well. He wasn’t trying to be dismissive of our dog or trying to hurt us. He loved our dog. We all did.
He was truly trying to honor her the way he knew how.
My sharing his obsession during her final moments.
What did I do?
I had to gently turn him down.
I told him I understood his meaning. However, if he had walked into that vet’s office wearing a Polish flag, other people may have misunderstood him. He would have stood out and I feared not in a good way. I told him we were there to solely focus on our dog.
I loved the way he wanted to honor our dog, but I felt the way he wanted to do was something that needed to be private. He was exposing his obsession in a situation that wasn’t quite appropriate.
At a gaming tournament, yes.
Not at a vet’s office where were about to put down our dog. My husband and I were both quite visually upset. It was hard on all of us. I really couldn’t add that piece of autism in that situation. If my son couldn’t cry or emote or show he was visually upset, that was acceptable. But, adding that one piece of autism, I made the call to keep away.
Yes, my son understood. He didn’t fight me on the decision. I think he was okay with it.
I know he loved his dog and I’m so proud of him for being there with us to say goodbye to her. That was what was important to my husband and myself. That he was with us.
Goodbye Cass. You were a great dog.
Here are examples of how some people with autism view the world:
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