We had a bit of a mini-life changing moment in our house yesterday in the middle of a rather challenging math lesson on fractions.  By the way, have I ever mentioned that I hate math??  So, I’m not sure who the lesson was becoming more stressful for, my son, or me!  Once emotions calmed down a little bit… and after we completed the nightmare of fractions that laid in front of my son… he looked at me… growled with a sideways grin, as he does when he is frustrated, and says… ‘I want to start using Ollie again and then maybe I would stop carrying Flary with me everywhere!

If you had seen me at that moment… I just about fell off the couch!!  Let me explain why.  You see, Ollie, who is his autism service dog, has pretty much taken up the role of more of a therapy dog or companion dog over the past year and a half.  Once we removed my son from the school system, Ollie’s role changed.  It wasn’t one that we planned… or expected… it just kind of happened.  Ollie is a great dog and does an amazing ‘job’ helping at home, but that’s pretty much where it stayed… until now.  But if it means that my son will stop taking Flary everywhere… Ollie, your days of lazily lounging around the house are gone!  I must say, Ollie loves to work. He prefers to be with us rather than not.  So I know he will jump right back into his role without too many challenges at all.

Now, have I told you about Flary? Oh dear… where do I start? Flary is my son’s favourite thing in the world outside of Ollie. I might just squeak in above Flary here and there, but those are on rare occasions! Flary is his stuffed Pokemon and ‘she‘ (please note the importance of this fact… Flary is a SHE!  If you forget this fact, I know someone that will be sure to remind you!!) means the same to my son, as he means to me. Yes, this is how he explains their relationship to me!  

Flary has… well… become a fixture in our lives and what started as something small has grown considerably. Traditionally Flary is attached to him 24/7.  I dont generally mind too much, except for the fact I have added having to ‘bath’ her more often than I bath the dogs! Seriously though, I have tried to have conversations with my son regarding Flary… leaving her home once in a while… cause ‘boy she must be tired!!‘… but its a tough road.  The dependency is huge as Flary has, clearly, taken the place of Ollie when he isn’t with us.  Ollie and Flary help him through his anxiety… which at times can be extreme.  However, sometimes Flary can interfere with our everyday lives.  I remember last year when we were planning a trip, I took him to the airport to give him some idea of what would happen at the airport, including with security.  That was interesting, as he just about went through the roof when he found out that he was going to have to allow Flary to go through security at the airport without him!!!  He basically told the airport security they were nuts if they thought he was going to allow that to happen!!  And since we all know that airport security doesn’t really seem too have much of a sense of humour, that didn’t end so well.  They flat out told him that he wouldn’t be able to get on the plane without doing that (yikes!) – it was there that we quickly ended the conversation!

So, as my son tells me that he is thinking about utilizing Ollie again… and relying less on Flary… I was thrilled… and shocked!!

Now, Ollie… your days will no longer consist of laying in the sun, snuggled up with your sister Jorga and apparently our other dogs, Carolina and Snowball – now that’s a story for another day!  Time to dust of the ‘service dog’ vest and get you back to work my furry friend.  These dogs are amazing.  Ollie can go in and out of the service dog/companion dog role at the drop of a hat… I am thankful that we have Ollie in our lives.  He loves to work, but, when the vest comes off at home, he loves to play… and there is no one that he loves to play with more, than his boy!