I stopped LB happily mending the downstairs toilet this morning, once it started leaking. He went apeshit. With a spanner in his hand. The language was dripping with expletives and the toilet seat took a hammering. With his head. He stormed passed me and went upstairs. I hung up some shirts in the wardrobe and the rail fell down. The rage continued upstairs, directed at me. I put my keys in my pocket and hovered near the front door. Billy Joel’s The Stranger came on the radio.
Yep, I thought. That just about sums it up.
Well this is a biggy. And will make all you dog lovers feel warm and fluffy. Stan hasn’t featured much in this blog so far (though his paws play a starring role). Stan is the treasured member of our family. He is a little bit of a chunky, doting, loyal Jack Russell who likes nothing more than hanging out with us.
After a shaky start – he was Richy’s 40th birthday pressie without us realising how much Richy did not like JR dogs, but lets not dwell on that – he has become a central character. Everyone loves Stan. Not least, LB.
LB has an unusual relationship with Stan. Though maybe typical for dudes like LB. LB will confide in Stan, discuss his day with Stan and seek Stan out more than anyone else. If we ask LB about his day at school, or elsewhere, he will disclose nothing. If we say that “Stan wants to know…..”, LB settles down with him and retells his day in detail. Using the voice he always uses when interacting with Stan. LB’s ‘Stan’s voice’ is a bit of a mystery given how good he is generally at impersonating people. It’s a sort of high pitched, slightly sing song voice, that has stayed the same for many years.
LB loves Stan without question. Stan, on his part, is remarkably tolerant of LB. Patiently listening to his chatter, sitting with him when he plays with his football guys (with his carefully arranged Playmobile crowd), putting up with some awkward handling. Funnily enough, LB doesn’t engage with Bess at all. He has got a ‘Bess voice’ when pushed (much squeakier and higher) but he has no real engagement with her. He is a one dog dude.
There are some (schmulzy) books written about how autistic kids’ lives have been transformed through their relationships with their pet dog. I don’t subscribe to a rescue/cure discourse at all, but there is definitely something remarkable about LB’s relationship with Stan, and the window it offers us into his life.
His literal (intolerant?) side remains constant though. His two most consistent Stan related questions are;
“Mum, is Stan fat, Mum?”
“Has Stan got a small head, Mum?”
I’m ain’t saying anything.
These posts aren’t in a chronological order, so this probably won’t have the resonance it should. But random is good (sometimes). Laughing Boy came into the kitchen tonight and said “Thank you mum for phewddryfhddndfhrrhsssvvbnrtt”.
Whoa!!! Wha?? LB initiating a conversation? Unprompted? That isn’t about a need (toilet, internet access, maintenance of routine…) This is amazing. A “thank you” opening??? What are you saying LB???? Continue reading