Ruby has always been an animal person. There is something about animals that just open her up and help her connect better to the world. I remember when we first started having concern about her development and we were waiting for her early intervention evaluation the intense need to do something for her kicked in and boom we got a bunny. The first time Ruby saw her bunny (Ava), she crouched down, looked the bunny in the eyes and said, “bunny, Ruby, bunny, Ruby”, with moving her hands back and forth. We were stunned! She had never done anything like that before and it came so naturally.
Our speech therapist told us later that animals don’t have communication expectations, so the pressure to say something is gone and it can be easier for Ruby to talk to them than to a person. Amazing!
Ruby has always had a special place in her heart for dogs and horses, especially dogs. So when we moved to a different state away from her grandparents and other family, her therapists, her school, and had to start all over again, we finally got her a dog. We literally drove here on a Friday and Saturday morning we picked up Pepper. Honestly, this was one of the best things we could have done to help Ruby with the move. She loves Pepper.
When we got Pepper, we saw her excitement, her attention increased, her communication started to increase, and she started to try to communicate with her. If she wanted Pepper to play fetch she would say, “Pepper ball!”. Ruby has always loved play biting and was obsessed with Pepper biting her. She would constantly say “Pepper bite!” and hold out a finger for Pepper to bite. Not the greatest since we were trying to teach Pepper not to bite, but Ruby was using words and intentionality…… Ya you take it where you can.
Now that we have had Pepper for a few months now we have worked on getting Ruby away from the biting and she does pretty well with Pepper. There were a few nights when Ruby had a hard time sleeping and was just out of her mind upset. We let Ruby be with Pepper and that actually helped her calm down. We hope that when Pepper gets older and they both learn how to interact with each other well without supervision that Pepper will be able to sleep with Ruby to help her sleep better. Here you can already see that she is doing better with Pepper!
Something else amazing has happened with Pepper. Ruby has a fear of electronic things, blenders, vacuums, egg betters, weed eaters, etc. We were in the backyard and her dad was weed eating just behind the fence. When the noise started she started to run away. Then she stopped and ran over to Pepper to make sure that she was ok, and yes wearing a PJ Masks super hero cape of course! Ruby was able to put aside her fears to make sure Pepper was ok since was scared too. This was huge for Ruby as usually she is just scared and cannot thing of anything else. Pepper truly is an angel sent to us and I cannot wait to see Ruby and Peppers relationship develop over the years. There will be no getting in between Ruby and her dog.