Hi! My name is Claudia and I have a dog named Rugby Jones. I guess that makes me his human mom. Rugby has become my inspiration and my teacher because of the way that he has dealt with adversity in his life.
Rugby suffered a spinal cord injury and lost the use of his back legs. I watched the sadness in his eyes with an understanding that he could no longer run, play or even walk. Like any parent, I tried everything to help him. I finally found him a dog wheelchair.
That was the moment when Rugby’s life changed for the better. Rugby took to his new wheelchair like a duck on water. His enthusiasm and zest for life grew with each passing day. Little did I know that Rugby’s injury and recovery would change my life for the better too.
As we dealt with Rugby’s handicap, I became acutely aware of the interactions between Rugby and those who came in contact with him. Sometimes, there were disapproving and unkind comments that came our way. When this happened I became mesmerized by the effect that Rugby’s antics and friendly personality had on people. He possessed an innate ability to turn negative into positive and criticism into approval.
Those who had scorned the dog in the wheelchair and the woman at the end of the leash did about faces after he approached them with his heartwarming antics. It was as though he spoke their language. “Why are you staring at me? I’m fine. So what if I need a wheelchair to get around? Is your body perfect? Mine isn’t. Please be nice to me. I will be nice to you. I am a very happy dog. I love my wheelchair and I love my life. Don’t you want to be my friend? I sure want to be your friend.”
I have been sharing Rugby’s uplifting story because it is one of encouragement for people who must deal with any adversity. Rugby exemplifies the fact that life is what you make it.
As I speak and write about Rugby’s antics, actions and reactions to people and events, children are delighted. Maybe it is because my words are straight from the horse’s mouth or more accurately straight from Rugby’s mouth.
With my help, Rugby shares his message that teaches hope, courage, understanding, compassion and kindness.
Rugby Jones is my hero and I am confident that he will be your hero too.
We were in the store and saw a child having a meltdown. We felt bad for the child but we felt even worse for the mom who was trying to handle the situation. Not even 10 feet away from them stood a couple who started talking to each other in loud voices about how spoiled the child was.
It got even worse when they began to criticize the mother for not being strict enough with the child. Then they talked about how they would never have tolerated that kind of behavior with their own children. Everyone heard them and then the mother began to sob. It was time to step in and help. After all, that’s what we do!
Meltdown or Tantrum?
GUESS WHAT? We found out that the mom was dealing with her daughter who has Sensory Processing Disorder. She was exhausted and couldn’t handle the constant criticisms anymore. We asked the onlookers if they had raised kids with special needs? They said that their children were very normal and that using special needs as an excuse wasn’t the way to raise a child.
Have you ever been critical of a parent who was dealing with a child’s meltdown in a public place?
Think about a few things and maybe… just maybe you will be more understanding. A tantrum and a sensory meltdown are two totally different things. A tantrum happens when a child doesn’t get something he or she wants or needs.
A sensory meltdown happens when the child feels overwhelmed!
Meltdown or Tantrum?
Maybe the noises in the store or too many things to focus on send a child with SPD into a meltdown. For onlookers, a tantrum and a sensory meltdown appear to be the same but they far from being the same. For the child with SPD, too many sensory inputs flood the brain and a meltdown is a way to release the pressure.
Have you ever tried to use a funnel to fill a bottle with some liquid only to see that too much liquid causes the bottle to spill over? Have you ever turned on a hose to fill a bucket only to see that the pressure of the water in the hose causes the bucket to spill over? Both of these situations are only mild examples of what a child with SPD is feeling. Do you feel less critical? We hope so!!