Thursday, July 26, 2012

Walking With Dogs, Our New Favorite Family Activity

We have a new dog this week.

This bulldog has a very different temperament than the two miniature pinschers we had earlier. They were active; this guy sleeps a lot. The min pins barked a lot, especially before they got used to staying with us, whereas the bulldog is generally quiet.

But no matter the type of dog, Kai likes having them around. Sometimes he plays with them, but even when he is not actively engaging with them, he enjoys their presence.

Having the dogs has given us a nice twice-daily family activity: walking with the dogs.

We go every morning shortly after Kai wakes up, and then in late afternoon near dinnertime. (Additionally, my wife takes the dogs out when Kai is in school or therapy).

We live close to a nice wooded walking trail, but rarely used it before. Now, it is our favorite place to go.

Back when Becky and Lucy were staying with us, we even spotted a deer in the woods a few times. Here you can see it just steps away from us. Amazingly, it stood there watching us for about a minute before it walked away.

With our latest guest, Kai had therapy when Edoten arrived. But as soon as he got home, he wanted to take him for a walk.

We found out that Edoten does not always want to move along. So, we have had Kai hold the dog’s favorite squeaky toy, and walk ahead while squeezing it every now and then. Kai thought it was funny and it really motivated Edoten to get moving.

Having dogs around doesn’t eliminate all of our challenges. But I do think that getting out for a walk every day as a family does help to reduce stress for all of us. Even on the worst days, getting outdoors is a nice respite from whatever is causing tension at the moment.

When you raise a child with special needs, taking care of your own mental well being is one of the most important things to do. It is amazing how a little thing like this can help with that.


  1. Your own mental well being. Yes, I do think that is one of the most important things!

    I'm so glad the dog sitting is going so well! What a great idea!

    1. Betsy, our focus is often on the child and too often we neglect ourselves. A nice thing about having the dogs is that it is adding to the well being of all of us without even thinking about it.

    2. I think you are a smart man to recognize the need to take care of yourself for your son and family! This was a great post and a wonderful reminder:)

    3. Kelly, I don't always think of it, but sometimes it works out anyway like with the dogs. :)

  2. What a great situation. Everyone makes, the parents...and the dogs. What a nice walking path you have there. I am sure that greatly adds to the pleasure of exercise.

    1. Yes, walking through the woods and in the park adds to the pleasure... not quite the same when walking down the street. It's nice that the dogs seem to really like staying with us.


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