Our Journey Raising Two Children with Special Needs

This blog chronicles our life raising two children, Nicholas 14, diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome and Weston 17, diagnosed with Autism/Asperger's/ADHD. It's the ups, the downs, the joys, the sorrows and most importantly, the beauty of living a life less perfect, a life more meaningful.




Friday, January 14, 2011

The Mighty Sampson takes on the UPS Guy


This is Sampson.

He is a tiny, adorable Pomeranian dog. He weighs about ten pounds, soaking wet. His favorite activity is licking people's faces.

He is my mother's dog. My mother can no longer care for Sampson since she now lives at an assisted living facility.

Sampson was actually very helpful to us in first determining that our Mom had dementia. My siblings and I would find lots and lots of open cans of Mighty Dog on our Mom's kitchen floor. This was one of our first clues that something was wrong with our mother. She could not remember that she had already fed the dog (several times). Needless to say, as a family we are all very grateful to Sampson.

The assisted living facility does not take pets. But thankfully, my brother, Jason offered to care for Sampson when we moved Mom to her new home at the Village. Occasionally, however, my brother must travel out of town on business. So, while he is away, we take care of the lovable Sampson.

This week Jason is traveling, so we are babysitting Sampson once again.

As I mentioned, he is a small adorable dog HOWEVER he can also be very vocal, barking and circling our humble and submissive dog, Muffy. Now, Muffy outweighs Sampson by about twenty pounds, and should Muffy ever decide to fight back one day, Sampson would lose.....big time. This however, never happens, and Sampson remains the undefeated champ of the house. Except, of course, for the cat, who, with one swipe of his paw puts both Muffy and Sampson into a fear-induced coma.

Anyway, Sampson has become more and more brazen as he lives in our household. The noisy rambunctious atmosphere has somehow built up his confidence as he boldly follows the boys from one loud adventure to the next. With this new-found confidence, Sampson has assuredly taken on the self-imposed position of sole protector of the Peter's Pack. Whenever the front doorbell rings, Sampson barks furiously, as he steadies himself to bravely confront whomever or whatever comes through that front door.

Today, Sampson earned his merit badge for braveness as he fearlessly decided to take on the UPS guy.

Our driveway has a slight hill, and in wintry months it can become very difficult for cars and trucks to ascend safely. Unfortunately for the UPS guy, our latest snowstorm covered the hill in ice. Good guy that he is, he walked up our driveway to deliver our package in person. As I looked out our window, I saw him gently place the package on our doorstep and ring the doorbell. He turned to make his way slowly back down the slippery driveway.

"Barkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbark" Sampson snaps as the sound of the doorbell instantly transforms him into his alter ego of ferocious guard dog. I swear he actually grows a few inches.

Weston runs to the door to see who it is, and without thinking, he opens the door.

"Don't open the door!" I yell, but it is too late. Sampson has bolted out the door, barking furiously and headed like a torpedo directly toward the rather large UPS guy. I had to bite my lip to stop myself from laughing as the mammoth delivery man freezes in his tracks.

"Holy shit!" he exclaims as he puts up his hands and backs tentatively away from the frenzied fur animal.

"It's OK," I shout, "he is very friendly!"

But the UPS guy doesn't believe me. He is frozen with fear and completely paralyzed as all the color drains from his face.

"He sounds vicious but he is really very tame," I try to explain.

"Lady," he says, "I don't care what you say, that animal is one of those Gremlins!" and the behemoth UPS guy turns and runs lickety split down the slippery hill!

I am laughing so hard I am crying. The boys are standing with their mouths open as they have never seen a large grown man run away from a small dog before. And little Sampson returns from his trial run as a guard dog rather pleased with himself for chasing the scary man away.

I am no dog whisperer but I could swear little Sampson was smiling.


Thoughts from a Snowbank