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Haircuts and Hardships?

March 28, 2016 | By: Judith

Haircuts - We love them and hate them. I cannot be the only one that feels this way. I always feel amazing after getting a fresh haircut but before said haircut I am almost always terrified. How will it look? Will it be good, or bad? Will I end up hating this new look?

But what if you were a dog, no better yet what if you were a kid with autism and your dog was getting a haircut? You are scared of change. It makes you anxious, afraid…

Chebe, our Coton de Tulear puppy has the most beautiful hair and if you ever petted him you would agree that it is soft to the touch, almost like silk. When he runs, his hair flows and ripples like a model for hair shampoo.

For my son Aiden, who has disabilities, Chebe’s hair is a sensory component, the touch, the smell, the emotion, it makes him happy. We often have to remind him to stop twirling the dog’s hair round and round when he is stressed. Like a soother he plays with the hair.

"It's calming and Chebe loves it," he argues when you ask him why he does it's done between you and me Chebe is a soother to the anxiety that Aiden suffers from. Plus, Chebe seems to just relax through the whole ordeal, which does not help the matter - BUT. The hair matts. It knots and starts to create these really cool dreads that symbolize time for a puppy cut.

Today is puppy cut day.

In an autism house this event is a big deal. We first talk about it, in the early morning. We show pictures, share memories, build a foundation for the change that is going to happen. We joke a lot at home, using humor to help Aiden deal with issues.

“Is he not going to look adorable?”
Now imagine that Chebe has been in our lives almost 3 years and we have to go through this process every 6-8 weeks, like clockwork…. Over and over…

“Cute dog alert!!”

Thank goodness everyone around us understands. This is one of the reasons why I love our groomer, they know my son and understand his anxieties. They care for their clients and develop a bond that ties them to the owners. As you can imagine, Aiden has to be a part of the process, he drops him off in the morning, first checking out the place, asking lots of questions, reassuring himself and the puppy that things are okay and everyone is going to be safe. I have to tell you, never once have these amazing people ever shown anything but acceptance and I am so thankful. So appreciative of their calm accepting natures.

Now that is what the world should be all about. We should all just chill out and accept each other.

Routine routine routine...

Haircuts are a huge deal if you are a fluffy puppy with a human who suffers from autism. First thing We do before Aiden gets home from school is show him a photograph of the dog and the groomer. Why you ask? Because of the change - the complete shock of how he will look? Reassure him that everything is okay.

Then we show him the dog.

New haircut!
"Are you sure this is our dog?"
Yes, 100%
"Looks different."
Yes, everyone looks different with a haircut. Are you excited to see him?
"Yes."

Okay!!! We are all okay!!!

note: Haircuts are getting easier and easier … until the next one!

-Judith