Monday, February 6, 2012

Look Who Is Playing The Cow: Jealousy Takes Center Stage


There are a lot of things that I expected when we got a service dog. Things like


  • The fact we would have another animal in the house but that this animal would be highly trained which would make it very different from the others in the house.


  • The fact that we would have our very own search and rescue dog and gps system for Caden.


  • The fact that we would have a 4 legged tether that Caden might like better than any of the leashes or harnesses that we had found online or in the stores.


  • The fact that we would have a very public declaration of our son’s hidden disability.



There are a lot of things that I didn’t expect when we got a service dog. Things like



  • The fact that Caden would get the very best friend that he’s ever had.


  • The fact that within 5 months of getting Elf he would be going to school full time with Caden.


  • The fact that Elf would intuitively know when Caden isn’t feeling well or when he just needs a little extra attention.


  • The fact that Elf would become the source of jealousy in our household.


Let me explain this one a bit. I’m not talking your typical sibling jealousy. This isn’t the kind of jealousy that stems from one sibling having their own dog while the other shares family pets (even if there are a lot of pets to share). I’m not talking the kind of jealousy that stems from one sibling “getting away” with things because he doesn’t understand otherwise. I’m not even talking the general it’s not fair jealousy that my kids seem to specialize in.



Nope I’m talking about the kind of jealousy that stems from one sibling’s service dog getting a bigger role in the school play that the other sibling who really wanted to be in the play.  Yep you read that right. The kids’ school does a school wide play every other year and this year is one of those years. The oldest sibling really wanted one of three parts while the youngest sibling didn’t want to be in the play at all—in fact he proclaimed that he didn’t even know what a play was and that he didn’t like to sing. Try outs took place over a few days. Unfortunately the oldest sibling didn’t get any of the parts that she wanted. Unfortunately the youngest sibling has to be in the play even if it is just a walk on or across part with other little kids. So as you can imagine we have two unhappy siblings.  Now let’s add insult to injury.  In the musical there is a cow—the milkiest white cow that you will ever see. This cow shows up in just about every scene of the play.  The cow is pretty darn instrumental to the whole play plot. And the role of the cow goes to……yep super service dog Elf. 

Now this isn’t a scenario that is covered anywhere in the parenting a special needs child with a service dog and his sibling handbook. I’m sure there is irony in this situation. I’m sure this is one of those situations that eventually we’ll laugh about. I’m sure this is one of those stories that we will retell in years to come before we head out to the theater for the day. I’m also sure that none of these scenarios are today.  At the moment I have a heartbroken sibling, an anxious sibling, and a service dog that just knows play practice means extra treats.



I really need a new copy of the handbook.