Long before the Dingo came on-board as chief security patrol of the house, we had another dog. Bailey, our 12-year-old golden retriever was with us long before Connor was a sparkle in my eye, or a zygote in my uterus.
Bailey was there when we brought Connor home from the hospital.
It doesn't smell like kibble.
Bailey patiently took a back seat to the new Emperor of the Kingdom. In fact, he pretty much steered clear of Connor unless he had toys out, because the crying and fussing made him nervous. Balls and toys though, now that was intriguing.
When no one's looking, the toy balls are mine.
As Connor grew and left the whining, fussing, tail-pulling stage behind, the two of them forged a great friendship. Since Connor sometimes perseverates on new tasks, Bailey patiently obliged him as he overfed him biscuit after biscuit. And Bailey was grateful, oh-so-grateful for Connor’s enthusiasm.
Thanks for being a spaz, kid! Another cookie please!!
But now since Bailey is in his “golden years” of dog-hood, he’s had some health challenges. A recurrent eye problem had him back at the vet. Connor accompanied hubs and Bailey on this recent trip. Now, as is typical for Connor, he was so busy playing around, messing around, running around, jacking around, and climbing around that he did not really catch the gist of the conversation my husband was having with the dog ophthalmologist. So it was news to him when I informed him of the dog’s health, and ultimate outcome of his eye.
“They are NOT going to take out Bailey’s eye! There is NO WAY I’m letting that happen!!!”
I’ve never seen such moral outrage and indignation from a six-year-old. And I felt so proud to see him feel empathy and compassion for his friend.
But a tumor in the eye is a big deal. So we talked about it, and about the pain that Bailey is in. Connor agreed that the doctor needed to help Bailey.
And when you have a tumor IN your eye, apparently the entire eye must come out. There is no other option.
We brought Bailey home that evening. He was still seeing purple elephants from the anesthesia, and looked like he was in the worst bar brawl ever. Connor was so gentle, so kind, whispering words of encouragement and endearment. Softly petting Bailey’s back.
At bath time, he came into my room and broke down. He sobbed and said, “it’s not fair, it’s not fair that they cut Bailey’s eye out!”
I explained about tumors and aging, and tried to get him to understand that Bailey was very lucky to be alive, and not hurting any more. He calmed down and has rolled with it.
This morning, he was back to feeding him biscuits.
So that stereotype about autistic kids lacking empathy? Bullshit. I can’t speak for every kid with autism, but I can say without any doubt that someone can be on the spectrum and still possess boundless empathy.
Now that the ordeal is over, we need a new nickname for Bailey. Because humor heals, people. Between the angry birds and the dog drama, I’m spent. The only names I’ve come up with are:
Captain One-Eye and the Empty Socket of Doom
See??? I need help.
I need you guys to leave comments with suggestions for a new nickname. You’re all much more creative than me.
Connor will help me pick a winner. The winner gets…glory and recognition (you’ll get linky love and I will whore the winning post all over web-nets). That’s it. (Hey, having dog eyes removed isn’t cheap, so I’m on a tight budget this month.) I will post a picture of poor Bailey (come on, don’t act like you’re not the least bit curious to see what a one-eyed dog looks like), with a banner around his neck with the new nickname.
Come on people, bring the creativity!
Editor’s Note: We are not changing the name of our 12-year-old dog. We are simply coming up with funny nicknames for him. Our other dog is named Dora, and we refer to her often as “the dingo”.