A Transition Dog

What on earth is a transition dog? A dog you buy before you get the one you *really* want?  The one you get after the one you really loved died? A sort of Tamagochi that you feed whilst you are waiting for your favorite TV programme to start? I don’t know. Seems rather a lot of pressure to put on a poor doggie’s head. Man’s best friend. Check. But man’s psycho-bloody-therapist? That’s a woof too far.
Labradoodle, a made up name right?
Cross between labrador and poodle: cute!
A friend of mine has bought, for a mere £200.00, a beautiful ‘transition dog’ ~ a labrador and poodle cross, called a labradoodle – I kid you not – with pale green eyes and a winning, non-barking personality. His name, naturally,  is Doodles and he’s a total show-stopper. I should know, I borrowed him to walk down the high street and have never spoken to so many people in a ten-minute stretch (and no, I wasn’t wearing my cream see-through dress!). This doggy is captivating and I’m beginning to fully understand his role.
Growing up, moving on
My friend’s son is moving from primary school to junior school. He’s also leaving his after-school nursery as well as winding down his play therapy sessions. He is starting a new school in September which will mean new friends, teachers, routines, expectations, uniform – everything. In short he will be experiencing a lot of simultaneous changes in his young not-quite-seven year old life. Lots of children of his age will be going through a similar experience. My friend’s son, however, presents with attention deficit, social and behavioural difficulties.
He has a lot going for him, but also a lot of challenges that teachers, trained professionals and of course his mother are helping him to navigate. And he has his dog. A non-judging presence, a constant bundle of energy and bounty, a creature with whom he can share his thoughts, fears and emotions. A transition dog.
Sometimes, we all need one of those.
© Suzy Rigg

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