Retirement has helped make living with my Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) more manageable. I have more control over my daily routine. I don’t have to socialize as much. I spend my days mostly at home in my own space. Since I am my Mom’s sidekick, there are times she interrupts my schedule but hey, that’s fair since she has to put up with me and my ASD.
A welcome break in my routine is when I dog sit for my brother and sister-in-law’s three dogs in the remote hills of Oklahoma. Some people ask me how can I stand being all by my lonesome out in the country. They don’t understand that being by myself with some dogs, along with my scooter toys, is pretty close to paradise.
The three dogs I sit for are Bleu, Bailey, and Luna. Bleu is like the old mule. He is 14 years old, dog years that is. He is an Australian Blue Heeler and I’ve heard some say this breed is the “methusaleh” of dogs. Bailey is somewhere between a mule and a bull. She is the one who will cuddle with me at night. Luna is the bronco bull! She is the young pup who doesn’t know she is a pup. She is the leader of the pack on our walks. She’ll at least stop and look behind to see if we are still coming up the rear or have made a u-turn.
On one of my dogsitting tours, I went for a ride in one of my brother’s herd of four-wheelers. My brother calls this one his “old mule”. I drove pretty far into the pasture. Bleu had been ailing and on antibiotics. This did not deter him from joining us. Bleu refused to get up in the four-wheeler with me. Okay, I figured if he wanted to walk it, that was his business. Bailey rode with me until she couldn’t take it anymore watching Luna doing “sniffs”.
I was thinking as I was driving back that I didn’t close the gate. Ought oh! I had given my brother’s three donkeys an open-door invitation into the yard around the house.
Sure enough! The trio asses were loitering in the yard. I was still sitting in the old mule. I yelled at Bailey, the only one of the three around at the time, to go after the donkeys but she was too busy sniffing. Luna had taken her sweet time in coming back. When she did show up, I stood up in the four-wheeler and pointed at the donkeys telling Luna to go “sic ’em”. I might as well had been talking to the fence post.
I look behind from the old mule and seen Bleu on the trail heading back up to the house. It is in Bleu’s DNA to corral donkeys, cows, and sheep going after their hoofs. Although Bleu was ailing, he still took his role as ringleader in putting the donkeys back in their place. After Bleu arrived and started off for the donkeys, his sisters followed his lead. I drove up behind helping to corral with old mule. My goodness! I hadn’t seen the donkeys go that fast before! They galloped beyond the fence to where the cows were grazing from afar.
It dawned on me later that I and the old mule could have taken care of putting the donkeys back to their grazing headquarters. That’s probably how my brother would have handled it. I’m not as quick on my feet as he is. My first response to a situation where I don’t have the luxury of time to analyze is one which usually prompts laughter from my neurotypical acquaintances.
I’m glad that it turned out the way it did though. I didn’t like to think about it, but I knew Bleu probably wouldn’t be around much longer. He still had it in him, though, that day to come to the rescue one more time.
A few weeks after the dogsitting trip, Bleu passed away from cancer. He lived a full and happy dog’s life thanks to his Dad, Mom, and dogsitter.