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Parent of 22 month old girl with complex (physical and SEN) needs - considering a small dog/puppy companion. Thoughts?

(4 Posts)
2grumpY Tue 18-Oct-16 21:50:26

Hi, first time post so apologies for lack of acronyms or anything usual!

I should add that i already posted this same post in the Pets board but wanted to get a broad share of opinion. I hope that's ok? Let me know if not and I will keep this one (I imagine) - just wanting information!

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.

zzzzz Tue 18-Oct-16 22:28:31

My advice would be wait five or six years and then get a dog if you still want one when she can remember it.

But I would say that regardless of disability

daisygirlmac Tue 18-Oct-16 22:32:52

I really wouldn't get a puppy they are HUGE amounts of work and usually very boisterous and bity until months down the line when they start to respond a bit better to training. I don't have any experience of SEN so it's all from a dog owners point of view but are you confident it would be fair to the dog? Lots of little kids struggle with how to touch dog nicely, learning the rules like don't poke and prod, don't approach while eating and it can be quite stressful for a dog to be around a small child. The other thing is that you would need to be hyper vigilant and not leave them in the room together. Would you want to do this?

pontificationcentral Fri 21-Oct-16 00:19:18

Our puppy ate my daughter's glasses when she was 2. grin
At 13 she loves the damned dog (who is old, sheds like Wickes and smells funny).
We didn't get a companion dog though - we replaced a family dog that we had lost the year before. And a year later we got a second one. We have big dogs. Companion dogs do have a place, but tbh I would be working on integration with your dd rather than assuming she will need an animal friend. Plenty of time for dogs later if you are only getting one as a companion. Better to be working on accessing an inclusive nursery with decent 1-1 support.
Dd2 has cerebral palsy. She has had some pt outreach placements at SN nurseries but has been full time in mainstream nursery and school. She had her first nursery placement at 12 mos for two mornings. It has always been really important to promote social skills for her. (She was expected to be non-verbal and a wc user - had 1-1 support right through nursery and into y2, but has had ace physio, ot and slt and by yr 2 was walking unaided within school. Speech will always be dysarthric but I have to go and collect her from her debate tournament in an hour...)
But we love dogs. Wouldn't be without them. I'm not sure I would prioritise them over more integrative stuff tbh.

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