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Of One-Eyed Dogs and the Boys Who Love Them

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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”.  🙂



About Flannery

Kid, husband, dogs, my mother, full-time job, maximum stress, minimal relaxation...sooner or later I had to vent. AND we moved from California to Texas. I could start a whole other blog about that.

15 responses »

  1. So sorry about Bailey. Im glad that he is home. Must admit that I love the pictures of Conner! How Can you change a dog’s name?! What about an old dog learning new tricks, hmmm? Anyway, how about Mike from Monsters inc? Or Uncle Sammy D? ( Rat pack…you know). The only other one I can think of is Patchy the pirate…

  2. my 11 yr old daughter (who has aspergers) read your post with me (she was captured by my first “Awwwwww! at the first photo) and has suggested 2 names : “Socket” or “Doubloon”- not sure if spelled that right; she means the pirate money.
    but for Bailey’s sake, the new name probably ought to be very close to the old one…
    when i had to change a cat’s name (she was named “handsome” by her 4 yr old first owner),
    we changed it to “winsome”…). we’ll keep thinking.
    loved your post. I do agree, ppl on the spectrum can be capable of amazing empathy.

  3. I like “winky”

    And the pictures of Connor with his best friend? Priceless! What an amazing pair!

  4. How ’bout The One-Eyed Wonder Dog? Do you even get that, or am I referencing an East Coast colloquialism there? If you do get it, you might not want to explain it to Connor. Anyway, I thought it was funny.

    My sister has a one-eyed chiuaua, but she never asked for a nickname, so it’s all yours if you want it.

    Connor is wonderful with that dog.

    • Yeah, I’m back. Instead of working, I’m obsessing over a nickname for your dog.

      We have to get “wonky” in there somehow. I would suggest Wonky McValtrex, but that’s already my nickname for Paris Hilton. And I doubt your dog has herpes.

  5. I think Patch. Plain and simple. Dora Dingo and Bailey Patch.

    And can I just say, your floors are remarkably clean under your dining table. *swoon*

  6. I was going to go with Patch as well. What a sweet story. I’m with you on the empathy thing. Tommy may not get “it” 100% of the time, but he DOES get it. Hope Bailey recovers smoothly

  7. whisperingwriter

    I’m with what others say, I like Patch!

  8. You’ve made me cry, swoon and laugh! Poor Baily but I love how protective Connor is. Children with autism not having empathy is complete bullshit!

    I think I gotta go with Marj. I like Cyclops

  9. karenaspergersmom

    Both of my boys have empathy for their friends especially, for teachers (that’s Blue) and even for total strangers. Now as for them having empathy for me…not so much. “I’m really sorry you’re sick mom…but what’s for dinner?”
    BTW…Connor and Winky are adorable together. I’ve missed your blog. Glad your’e back -although you could have been back and I just missed. But glad you’re back anyway.

  10. I have two one-eyed kitties and when I adopted them from the shelter I was encouraged to name them pirate names. Ultimately I went with Sam and Max, but maybe you could call Bailey “Captain” as a nickname? As in, Captain Jack Sparrow 🙂 (or Cap’n Crunch, I suppose). Love the pics of Connor and Bailey… Kids and the love they have for their pets is amazing!

  11. I just keep thinking One Eyed Willy from The Goonies.

    We have a senior Golden too. Aren’t they the sweetest dogs ever?

    I’m glad you found your way to my blog and I found my way back to yours. It appears we have some pretty awesome friends in common (cough, cough Lizbeth).

  12. Pingback: One-Eyed Dog, A Follow-Up « Living on the Spectrum: The Connor Chronicles

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