Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Sensational World According To Jaimie ~ How the Love From An Animal Can Help Kids With Special Needs

I can't believe how long it's been since we've posted here on The Gift. So much has been going on around here we have had to put a few things on hold. But that is all for a future post.

Today, we are going to get back to Jaimie's wonderful posts. She isn't here at the moment to post herself so I thought I'd do it for her for today. And I know, due to the subject matter of the post, that she won't mind.

In May, we had new neighbours move in next door. We weren't 100% sure about them at first. Not because of anything specific but more that we have had the worst luck with neighbors since we've moved in, and we were a little leery. Our minds were quickly eased as we started talking with them more and more, and saw the beautiful relationship developing between Jaimie and one of their dogs named Frankie.

About the time that the family moved in marked a bit of a peak for us. The kids' dad and I broke up and he'd moved out the December before. The kids were finally adjusting to their new life but I could tell they were all still struggling in their own ways. Sophie became withdrawn, never wanting to leave my side. Xander was more aggressive. Jordy, my sensitive girl, was even more so. Jaimie...? our regular readers know she has never been one to be able to express her feelings and thoughts the way other kids do. It takes her a long time to process experiences before she's able to discuss or deal with them. That's always been cool with me and I've always given her the space she needed. But not only did she have to deal with our new situation, she had another good friend moving away plus her body was going through changes most other girls' don't for a few more years. I was worried about her.

Frankie greeting Jaimie after school.
The first day they moved in, I saw this huge, beautiful dog jump out of the front of their truck. He was wearing a stud-covered Harley Davidson collar. Under any other circumstances, I would have been nervous having such a big dog run over to my kids (who were outside at the time), but his tail was wagging and he had a sweet doggie smile on so I knew they were okay. I went to the front door so the kids could see me, just in case any of them were scared. The first thing Frankie did was trotted right up to Jaimie and shoved his head under her hand. She looked at me, as if to say, 'Can I pet him?' and I nodded, making a motion to his owner, Burt (Grandpa) to ask. She got down on her knees to be at his level and he put his chin on her shoulder. I knew right then and there that there was some sort of kindred thing between them. Almost as if he knew she needed a special friend and she knew he was that friend.

As the weeks passed, I noticed that Jaimie started smiling, interacting and talking more. Frankie gave her hugs before she went to school, and literally sat on my front lawn when the home bell rang, staring at the fence the kids walked between on their way home. When he saw her, his tail went crazy and she flopped down on the grass for her welcome home cuddles.

As our families got closer, Burt shared wonderful stories with me about how Frankie used to go visit people in the hospital, and how protective he is. Burt says that dogs pick their owners, or those they trust to be close to. I don't think I fully understood that until Jaimie and Frankie met.

Here we are five months later and we have become like one big family with our neighbors. It's funny how life works. You go through crappy stuff, thinking you'll never get through it, then you're given a gift out of the blue that shows you how beautiful life is and all you have to keep moving forward to.

Frankie doesn't just let anyone lay on him.
In this case, the gift that came at the right time was a gentle, sweet, loving dog that helped my 'sensational' girl work through her feelings. He let her lay on him when she cried; he 'nosed' kisses to her when she was quiet and withdrawn; he ran and played with her when she was happy; and he paws at her when she (or he) needs a bit of love and attention. It has been a beautiful event to watch unfold.

I've always heard about the miracles that an animal's love can bring. They help cheer up sick people in the hospital or bring some joy to lonely elderly people living alone. And they give children like Jaimie a living being to help calm her or bring her out in ways none of the rest of us are able to. Our neighbors are our family now, and have given us so much. But Frankie's love for Jaimie, and hers for him, will be something I will always treasure. And I know she will never forget her time with him no matter how old she gets.

Please share your own stories of animal love and how they've helped your child, or another child you know.

Frankie and Jaimie.  BFFs forever.


Anonymous said...

So happy for you Jaimie that you found such a terrific friend in Frankie.


Chynna said...

Thank you, C. He is an amazing doggie. Thanks for commenting. <3

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