The Boy loves animals. Dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs. It doesn't matter what animal it is, it's a friend for life.
I suppose he's never had a fear of them, that's the thing. Now, I'm not suggesting for one minute he's Dr Dolittle or anything, there have been plenty of animals that have been roughly handled, poked and even had the old 'finger to the eyeball' treatment along the years. But for some reason animals seem to get him. They tolerate him far more than some people are able to.
I remember when The Grandmother's dog had puppies, and The Boy as a toddler rolled round the lawn with them. And in a way he fitted in with them more than he was ever able to in the playground. They climbed all over him, biting him, scratching him, licking him. And looking back at the photos of that day it's hard to imagine a time when he was ever happier.
Visiting children's farms was always one of his favourite trips out, and it still is. Feeding the animals, having a cow lick your hand or a llama have a little nip are all part of the fun. Trying to catch chickens, or telling the bigger goats off for pushing in, it's better than any birthday party.
But animals have caused pain in his life too. The sudden disappearance of the goldfish one morning after Dad cleaned the tank with Fairy Liquid... The unbearable sadness and silence that followed the death of The Grandmother's dog last summer. And when the hamster died, the unforgettable howl into the dark pleading, "who will look after me at night time now?".
Then this morning, his all-encompassing love affair with the animal kingdom came to an end. A scream came from his bedroom. "GET OUT!! STOP FOLLOWING ME!!!!!!". I rushed in, panicking, wondering what was going on. "GET IT AWAY!!", he yelled, pointing to the wall, "KILL IT!!!!!!!"
It was a Daddy Long-Leg. Turns out he's only human, after all.
This blog is about bringing up The Boy. He's 12 years old and autistic. It's written by The Dad. It's my words, my view. Other people will think differently and have different opinions. Good.