Trevor and I both grew up with dogs as family pets. We knew we would one day get a family dog, too. We wanted to get one soon after marriage, but with crazy college life and living in a rental that did not allow pets, it was easy to put off. Levi came into our lives while we were looking for a permanent home, and when he was 6 weeks old we purchased our first house and made some much-needed renovations while living in it at the same time. Did I mention we had a 6 week old?! Ugh! What were we thinking with the timing of all of this?! Ha!
We finally decided we would get a dog when Levi and any future kids were old enough to ask for one, really want one, and help take care of it.
Fast forward fifteen months when Levi started having seizures. We were doing EVERYTHING in our power to get them under control, or to stop them altogether, but it just wasn’t happening. One day, my Dad suggested Levi needed a dog. His exact words included “a therapy dog”. That caught my attention! I know dogs can be healing, and comforting. I looked into it and WOAH!! Pricey is an understatement! So, we kept it in mind – Levi needs a dog. We continued the treacherous path until diagnosis, and with that came a breath of air for all of us. We were then researching side effects of going without creatine, and permanent struggles that may come with GAMT. With it being so rare, there weren’t any definite answers as we came to find out each case and child with GAMT is unique with their conditions. So, what was left to do? Get Levi a dog! When he was 18 months old we found some adorable Labradoodles for sale near our home. They weren’t ready to leave their mom yet, so we continually visited and played with the puppies to see which one picked Levi and vice-versa. These dogs obviously weren’t trained therapy dogs, but our hope was that it would be just the right thing for our little guy. The cutest pup would always go to Levi. He would chase him and chew on his pant legs. It was amazing that time and time again this same puppy would go to him and love on him.
Although Levi didn’t verbally ask for a dog, and he definitely couldn’t help care for him, it was the BEST thing we did for him after his strenuous journey to a GAMT diagnosis.
They continue to be the best of pals, Levi and Stanley. It is great they have also allowed little brother Sawyer in on the bond. We will forever be grateful for the gentle nudge from a grandparent who knew what was best, and for the amazing family dog we now have!
Being a parent of a child with a rare disease has its unique challenges. There are so many questions that you ask yourself on a daily basis.
Why does my child have this condition?
Why is he not developing like other kids?
Why are there no treatments available?
Why can’t I do more to help him?
These questions change all the time, but the really frustrating part is that the answers do as well. Continue reading