I have mental illness and it effects me as a dog owner. Could you please give me some advice?
I am a 15 year old male who has Asperger’s Syndrome ( High Functioning Autism ). I have really bad breakdowns and it frightens my dog, but I never have them against her. I have therapy monthly, and it is only because my mother makes me go. I just want my dog to feel safe around me, because I would never hurt her or let anything happen to her. I don’t have a friend a friend, and I am home schooled. My dogs name is Lucy and she is a small 14 pound Border Terrier. She is around two and a half to three years old. I adopted her from an animal shelter, where she stayed for two years. I adopted her May, 7, 2012, which I now call her birthday. I did a small amount of training when I first got her and taught her to mind me. My dog was at the adoption center for two years and I can’t believe nobody wanted her. She is so sweet and friendly. I think God held her for me, because she is all I wanted. She is my companion. My mother did not want to let me have her at first, but she did. I paid for her and my mother singed the contract. Even though I only trained her a small amount ( Potty training, sit and stay, obedience ) she is not spoiled at all. She had a rough life before and she is a very thankful dog. She is just so happy, but isn’t hyper at all.
The main thing is, I am scared. Nobody helps me take care of her. My mother didn’t even want her at first. I may be sent to a mental hospital for a little while. I have literally never been away from Lucy more than one day. She is beside me all day everyday and I am always home. Just in case I have wrote four pages of instructions to take care of her and printed out cartoon instructions on the dog Heimlich Maneuver and dog CPR. I already know how to do this, but others probably don’t. So this is just in case anything bad happens. The thing I am afraid of most, they may spoil her. We do have another dog, a small Chiwawa. They spoiled her so bad she bites and cannot be around my dog. They feed her bacon and everything. My dog is only allowed her dog food. My dog cannot handle bones or people food, because it gives her bathroom problems. On the four page instructions I wrote, no people food. I am scared when I come back, she will be a different dog. That will tear me apart, because she is my buddy and last hope.
Literally nobody cares about her but me. I took her to get her haircut and I am taking her to the vet for a checkup very soon. I know it is not cheap, so I wrote my mother a letter saying she doesn’t have to give me birthday money. She can just use that money for my dogs regular regular vet checkup. I adopted her nine months ago, and this is the first time. I want to get her to go to the vet at least once a year, and money is tight. I am home schooled and me and my dog are ALWAYS together. I take her on a nice 20-30 min walk everyday or once every two days. She is always by my side and I am always by her side. Everyday I brush her hair and clean her teeth. Once a week I clean out her ears and once a month I give her a bath. Will my mother be willing to do this?
Thank you for all your help, I am just so scared. Will they follow all my rules? Will they spoil her? I also wrote on the instructions that she really loves time by herself or alone. I just can;t leave her, and I think about running away with her.
If you would like to see a photograph of her, here is the link. ( This is her at the Adoption Center )
Her first name was Nikki, but I changed it to Lucy.
I’m not sure what your mother could do while you’re in the mental hospital (that is if you are even admitted). Your mother may spoil her or she may even find her a new home. If I were you, I would be adamant about being treated on an outpatient basis, and that if you are admitted without your dog, it would cause you to become suicidal. Most of the time, psychiatrists don’t like to admit people to the hospital unless they pose real danger to themselves or others; they would rather treat you on an outpatient basis. Unless you have hurt someone seriously in one of your rages, I wouldn’t worry about being admitted, unless your mother forces you to go. If she does and you return home from the hospital with your dog gone, I would be incredibly angry at your mother and possibly not talk to her for a while because of it.
As for your Asperger’s, you will eventually learn to deal with it. I have Asperger’s myself and used to go crazy when people interrupted my me time. I also threw fits, even well into my teens. Once I got into college, I learned how to properly express myself to others and how to deal with my feelings on my own. I went through hell the first year I was in college (ended up cutting contact with my mom who was very controlling of me-she told me she wished I was never born), but it made me a better person. It’s very hard living with Asperger’s because people don’t understand me and I don’t understand them. Even in college, I don’t have very many friends and have found it much easier to express myself with my animals than with other people (animals can’t tell you that you are full of **** and tell you that you don’t have Asperger’s and that the diagnosis for autism has been broadened to the point where normal people are considered autistic, etc.) I would suggest that when and if you get into college (especially a large state university and even some private Christian universities) to use the benefits that they provide for free counseling on campus. It has helped me a lot to be able to express myself, say no to other people and stand by it, and to deal with my depression (although my psychiatrist and the medications I’m on help the most with my depression). It will be hard for you throughout your life, but you will eventually learn how to control your emotions better and to socialize with other people.
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