A year ago last week, we got a dog.

A year ago last week, I posted about it on my old blog and I was just reading the post. I'd like to share it with you.

This past Sunday we went to an Autism Awareness Carnival that was put together by a local parent's group.

There were a few rides, face painting, a real fire engine, balloon animals, the local high school marching band, and free food. But there were also booths set up to provide information on autism and products for autistic children. We tried to spend what time we could getting some information, but when you have three kids and a carnival with rides, well . . . you do the math.

At one point, Simon (my son) and Karen (my wife) went off on their own as Simon was getting a little bored. Simon (8) has Autism and while he can get super focused and spend hours and hours on one task, he can also get bored and impatient very easily.

After a while, when they hadn't come back, I left the girls with their grandparents and set out to look for my wife and the Boy.

I found them both crouched down in an open air tent. Simon was in front of Karen, and both had their backs to me. As I approached, Karen turned to me and I saw tears in her eyes. Then I noticed that Simon was petting this little, white dog. Karen noticed me standing there and said: "We have to adopt this dog. Look at your son."

Simon likes dogs. But it takes him a while to warm up to them. excitable dogs can easily scare the boy away, but this dog was calm. It just lay there, sweet as can be while Simon gently petted it.

It turns out that the tent was set up by the Humane Society and they were there to show off some of the dogs they had up for adoption. Simon and Karen were walking by and he wanted to see the dogs. And apparently he walked straight over to this one particular dog, a Lhasa Apso, and sat down with it and just petted and stroked him and talked to him and was just generally sweet and precious.

Karen then asked for the dog's name and she was told that his name is Niles.

It was at this point that Karen, who has always said she never wants another pet in the house, much less a dog, realized that she had fallen in love with Niles just as much as Simon had and decided that we were going to get a dog.

We weren't able to do anything there, however. We had to go to the Humane Society itself.

So, Simon and I drove to the Humane Society.

"Did you ever think when you got up this morning that you'd have a dog by the end of the day?" I asked Simon as we motored along.

"No," he said. Then he thought or a moment. "Wait a minute. Is this a dream, Dad? Am I dreaming right now?"

"Nope, you are not dreaming."

"Whoo-hoo!" He yelled from the back seat. "I'm getting a dog!"

That night, after we were home and Niles had explored the house as much as he could, and after we got the girls into bed, we went into Simon's room to put him to bed.
Niles followed.

Simon stopped off to use the restroom while Niles and I waited in Simon's room. Niles, without any prompting, jumped up onto Simon's bed and curled up for the night.

Simon and Karen then came into the room find Niles snuggled up on Simon's bed.

"Do you think that you're going to be okay sleeping with Niles on the bed tonight?" I asked Simon.

"Oh yeah," he said, and crawled into bed.

We said prayers, said good night, and shut out his light and then went to be ourselves.

Niles stayed on Simon's bed the entire night.

Simon sure does love his new best friend.

Since that day, Niles has really become part of the family.

Niles can sense when anyone in the house is sad or feeling sick. We know this because he will come right to you and snuggle up next to you. He really is just the sweetest dog in the world.

And he still sleeps with Simon every night.

Bringing Niles into our home was one of the best things we've ever done.

Happy Anniversary, Niles.

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