Buddy loves neon green, forest green, 10 various shades of green. I do believe that he would live in a forest green room with shelves and tables filled with his lego world creations. And if he could, and I could buy him an endless supply of athletic socks and footwear, they would all be hues of neon, emerald and army green. And, I do try to keep up with his new green-love fetish. His soccer ball, soccer cleats, tooth brush, weighted lap pad, weighted stuffy lizard, and (sshhhh) his boxer briefs, are all shades of green.
Of course, when we sat down together to begin combing through the details of everything for Aussie (our soon to arrive service pup), I clicked on the leashes and collars in the green section.
“Oooh, cool, mom!” I like all those green ones. “Oooh,” Buddy repeated over and over. “Aussie will be the coolest looking dog, ever, Mom!” my son shouted.
And then I watched him dance around our kitchen island, cheering about the new emerald green harness and leash he selected. “Aussie will be the coolest, woof, woof!” he chanted, again and again.
And, so I pushed click, activating the transaction for Aussie’s newest look in dog fashion.
During the short 3-day wait for our leash and harness (thank you to modern-day shipping), Buddy obsessed over Aussie’s arrival. He put together her safe spot – a crate adorned with a plush blanket and handmade dog toys (by Buddy and his sister). He ate his applesauce loaded with Benadryl (because of the dreaded allergy season) in the crate. Buddy read his books in her crate. And, when it was hide-and-seek time, Buddy hid himself inside Aussie’s crate. Alas, the excited energy around Aussie’s arrival could be seen in almost everything Buddy did.
So, when the harness and leash arrived three days later, Buddy opened the box and pulled them out. “Oooh, woof, woof!” he squealed! He pulled the harness around the front of his body, emulating how it might feel for his Aussie. He ran over to his sister, who was, by chance, creating a dog pull for Aussie. “Sister, look! It is green! Woof!”
My daughter looked at Buddy (her adoring brother), and said with great tenacity, “Aussie is a GIRL, Buddy!”
And then there was a blank stare from my son.
“So? She is a girl. Girls’ like green, right mom?” Buddy retorted to his sister.
“Of course they do! I’m a girl. I like green.” I replied.
“Hum,” Buddy pondered. He looked at the leash and the harness. “Mom, I never thought about what Aussie might like.”
“Oh,” I replied.
“Yea! I think her favorite color is purple. Like Sis’s favorite color is purple. I mean she has a purple color right now. I don’t want to make her sad, Mom,” Buddy said with great empathy and compassion. “And I like green, not purple. But, Aussie, she likes purple,” my son declared.”
In that moment, a huge shift occurred for my son. He recognized something other than his own likes and beliefs. He thought about his soon-to-be dog’s favorite color. For some, a color may seem very trivial (because really, what does a green leash or a purple leash really matter). However, for a child on the spectrum, taking a step to understand someone else’s perspective (even if we don’t know if Aussie truly loves purple or not), showed me that bringing Aussie into our lives was nothing short of a miracle. In the few short weeks my son has attended dog trainings every Sunday and prepared for her arrival between each Sunday, he has also grown into his true self.
And so, with a few more short clicks, we found another perfect collar for Aussie. Buddy selected a purple and teal blue collar for Aussie. When the box arrived and he opened it up, he again, played with the new collar and ran around the kitchen island, yelping woof, woof! He shouted in glee, “I like green, but Aussie likes purple!”
I will not forget that Buddy likes all hues of green. And, I will not forget the moment when he showed compassion and empathy for his dog-to-be, Aussie.