This week’s Pet of the Week post comes from one the fans of the Hartz Facebook page, Cynthia Wynn-Brandon! Read her post about her spotted pup named Astro and his bond with her autistic son, Noah. If you’d like to learn more about her life with Noah, autism and of course, Astro, you can visit her blog: The Wild World of Autism.

“Hi, my name is Astro! That’s me and Noah in the picture. He’s my small person and we love to play together. I also help keep an eye on him while he’s outside because Noah has autism. Noah’s autism makes him act differently than other kids. Autism is a complex neurological disorder that affects his communication, behavior and social interaction.  Nobody “knows” how you get autism or what to do to stop it, but Autism Speaks is working on that.  My big person (Noah’s Mom) volunteers for Autism Speaks. She was the chairperson for an Autism Speaks Memphis event
last year called Walk Now.

I couldn’t go to the walk last year because I am a little hyper like Noah. Noah and I are a lot alike. We love to run and run and run and run inside or out. We get in trouble sometimes for running in the house! We play chase ALL the time!  I LOVE socks & shoes, I will grab a sock so Noah will chase me (he calls the sock his puppet).  I usually get one shoe and take it to another room; you know, just to confuse my family.  It’s funny to watch them run around looking for their shoes. I have been with my family since I was born. Comet, my mom, is their dog too. I am going to let my big person Cindy finish the post now, I need to go outside.

Astro and Noah have a unique relationship. A lot of kids with autism benefit from therapy dogs. Astro is no therapy dog, but he sure does love Noah! When Comet had the puppies, Noah was very curious about the small dogs. He was very upset when we gave the puppies to other families. Even though it has been two years, he still asks about them sometimes. Noah has a great memory. Children with autism (just like typical kids) have a strong suit, an area in which they excel.

Astro just turned two last week. Astro came from Comet’s litter of seven pups. I always thought the runt was born last, but not in Astro’s case! When I went to bed that night there were six puppies. They were in pairs: two brown, two black and two white with brown and black spots. I woke up the next morning and there were seven puppies! The new one was huge and did not look anything like the others. It was Astro! We called him Big Boy then because he was double the size of the others.  I always said that someone must have snuck in and put him there! He was pretty much white when he was born with a black ear and black eye. Gradually, more and more spots appeared! He is SUPER fast and can jump REALLY high.

Astro is a great dog. He’s very active and loves playing with both of my kids, Savannah and Noah. We are a “home school family” so the kids spend a lot of time with our dogs. It is really nice to have such a close relationship with our pets! We treat our pets like family, because they are. Our family is “different” because of autism. Remember autism affects each person and family differently. To learn more please visit www.autismspeaks.org. April is Autism Awareness month, so please join the autism community in Lighting it up Blue!”

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