Sunday, April 22, 2012


I was talking to my mom on the phone the other day as I do about every other week or so.  I am in Missouri and she and my dad are in Washington State so we keep in touch by phone when we can and Facebook in between those times.  We went down the list as we normally do of my kids and how they are doing..but this day she asked about Simon too.  "How is the puppy?  I never hear how Simon is doing."  I thought about it later that night and decided I needed to blog about Simon.  He deserves it.  Here is his story...

Once upon a time, about two weeks before Christmas 2011, my daughter Megan and I found an ad on Craig's List.  Someone was selling their yellow lab.  They described the dog as sweet but didn't like cats, neutered and up to date on all shots, and was trained for a special needs child.  Hmmm...lab? special needs training? I was immediately interested. Plus he was only $100.

We weren't really looking for a dog...but I had just read an article about service dogs, primarily labs,  for Autistic children. I loved the idea but not the price tag!  According to ASDA (Autism Service Dogs of America), the cost of these dogs average around $13,500.00.  The good thing is most families acquire them for much less with fundraising and other means..but it's a long process.

David called the number in the ad the next day.  It turns out the "special needs training" he had was with a boy with Autism and my super-negotiator hubby got the price down to $50...crazy, huh?! So we were on the road that evening about an hour away to pick up a dog.

It was a shady deal, not going to lie.  We met "the sellers" in the back dark parking lot at a Walmart.  They were two teenage sisters.  We exchanged a few words..mostly questions I had about the dog.  His name is Simon and he is 1 1/2 years old they said.  He was one of several dogs and cats their family had but Simon didn't like them.  They got him when he was a puppy for their Autistic brother who is now 13.  Their parents are out of town so they will mail all his papers when they get back. Trey started to have one of his "melt downs" so I gave them my contact information and we left.  We never heard from them again. Strange deal...

Simon immediately fit into our family. He is a bit of a couch hog...but other than that, we have no complaints.  He is extremely affectionate and loves to be petted on his belly.  He loves to cuddle in the evenings with Megan and watch TV and whoever comes through the front door is instantly his BFF.  We knew very little about his past and as strange as the purchase of him was, Simon was clearly trained well and taken care of.  He has a beautiful golden coat and healthy build.  We also quickly found out he knew tricks... like "shake" and "lay down".

But what amazed us most of all...and what we had hoped for but didn't know what to expect... is how he was with Trey.  Simon had incredible instincts about Trey from the first day which have only gotten stronger as times goes by.  For the first couple months, Trey wanted nothing to do with him.  He didn't want to touch Simon.  He didn't want Simon near him.  This worried us in the beginning but we realized it would take time.  Simon didn't seem worried though...he just sat and watched Trey from across the room.

Soon Trey began to come around.  He started to giggle when Simon would play fetch and even began bringing the ball to us to throw for Simon.  He began to let Simon lay next to him on the floor when he was playing with his alphabets or Thomas trains.  The day Simon's back became train track for Trey's trains was adorable!  He also began to notice Simon would follow him into his room at bedtime.  Even though Simon had done this many, many nights without Trey noticing... he now expects and looks for Simon to come in to say his "good night" before he lays down in his bed.  Trey has the biggest smile every time.

We have only had Simon for 4 months...but we can't imagine life without him.  Trey and Simon are buddies.  Trey is always either using his belly as a pillow or his back as track for his trains.  They have a blast together outside playing ball or just running around.  Sometimes Simon will even go down Trey's slide.

 Simon "takes care" of Trey when he has meltdowns by either coming to tell us or leaning against Trey to calm him down.  He is always near Trey...follows him from room to room.

I have always taken lots of pictures of my kids.  Especially when they are young and couldn't tell me to stop.  So naturally there are lots of pictures of Trey....but what I didn't notice until recently is how many of these pictures have Simon in the background.  It's so sweet to see.. Simon is always there with Trey and for Trey.. always in the background.  Rarely in the spotlight....but he deserves to be!


  1. Rhonda, what a blessing Simon has been for Trey. I read this with tears in my eyes. Love the pictures of the two together. Beautiful.

    1. Thank you so much!! I loved sharing this story..we feel pretty lucky to have found such a special doggie :)

  2. Glad Trey and Simon have each other! I wonder if I can train one of our 4 furry purries to be a special needs helper in the one hour they are awake a day?

    1. LOL!! Simon has lots of days like that too.. he has to take a nap to after a nap to get ready for a nap :) Thanks Sarah!!