Hi, first time post so apologies for lack of acronyms or anything usual!
Myself and my partner have a 22 month old girl with complex needs. In a nutshell she has a severely curved spine, and we believe moderate learning difficulties (though at this age who can tell how moderate/severe?). She is at approximately 12 months developmentally.
I work full time and with (some) support we are able to have my partner non-working to care for our little one. Or at least our little girl will always have one of the two of us.
We are considering getting a small dog as a companion for our little girl. We live in a fair sized 2 bed flat on one floor, pets allowed, and next to a park. We should have enough financially a month to care for our little furry friend.
Question is should we? We are thinking of the doggy as a family friend and companion for our girl as she is so different from other kids her age - correct line of thought? Not trying to be irresponsible at all!
Any adults with children with SEN and/or physical development issues with experience of this? Or conversely any pet owners who can say otherwise? We are looking for any advice at all, positive or negative. Thanks.
I'm not an expert by any means, but I am a huge dog lover. Dogs are amazing for children especially those with extra needs so I think it's a wonderful idea. My main piece of advice is to do your research. Dogs, puppies especially are hard work and a lot of effort is required to train them. Maybe speak to other parents of children with needs like your little girl and get some advice if they have dogs. Look into getting the right breed to suit your family, nothing too excitable (although all puppies are this!) or that need too much as they grow. You may want to think about the hypoallergenic type, that don't shed like the cavachon, Shih tzu, Lhasa apso or bichon frise.
Good luck, and please remember a dog is for life, it's a serious commitment so make sure you get the right one for you.
They are so rewarding, you could even talk to a few rescues, see if they have a suitable pooch if you don't fancy the puppy stage.