It all changed when our daughter with Asperger’s Syndrome turned 8. She was increasingly becoming more anxious and isolated herself more. We were advised that a pet will assist in this regard. Bonza, a Chocolate Labrador was purchased in the hopes of helping our daughter. Both her paediatrician and Early Intervention Therapists had been telling us of other children on the Autism Spectrum who had become more settled and had improved social skills when the parent’s had introduced a dog to the family.
So we did some Googling on dog temperaments and decided that a Labrador would suit our lifestyle. We found a breeder online, specializing in Chocolate Labs with puppies ready to go. After contacting him we were told that there was one male left. He had been sold but was returned after the buyer had a car accident and was now unable to care for the dog. The breeder advised that he was 19 weeks old, toilet trained, walked well on lead, well socialized and the price had been reduced. He also advised that he already had a name that he recognised, Bonza.
As the breeder was some distance away we agreed to meet halfway and pick up our beautiful new boy. With hindsight this was a rookie mistake. The exchange of Pup and money was rushed, and before we knew it, we were the new owners of Bonza, and the breeder was gone. No paperwork was given, and Bonza didn’t even have a collar nor a lead.
Bonza was trouble from the start. He was terrible on lead, extremely reactive, destructive and definitely not toilet trained as he would only toilet on concrete. He was terrified of brooms and hoses. He began to bite us and we did not feel safe leaving him and the kids unsupervised. After about 6 weeks we were at our wits end and called Kyra.
She was extremely helpful and patient. She explained to us that his behaviour was consistent with poor breeding perhaps even a puppy farm. With her help we almost had Bonza settled, he was almost perfect!
When he was about 9 months old we noticed he was less enthusiastic to walk and would appear tired after a short amount of time. He was spending a lot of time sitting on our pond. Then one day, he refused get in or out of the car. Then, he refused to go up or down stairs. We called Kyra once again. She noticed one of his back legs was bowed and suggested we see a Vet. After a few weeks of pain medication, x-rays and ultrasounds that were sent away to a specialist in Brisbane, we were given a diagnosis of hip dysplasia.
As Bonza was still under 12m old we were told surgery would not be an option until he had finished growing, about 18 months to 2 years of age. We were told we could continue with the pain medication until then. Unfortunately, that was well out our budget. We had to make the heartbreaking decision to have our beautiful boy put to sleep. We were all gutted. He was only 11 months old.
Kyra supported us the whole way and which made the whole experience a positive one for the whole family. We are forever thankful to Kyra.
If you are thinking about getting a pet, please take your time and choose the breeder very carefully. A good breeder always provides documentation about their dogs and is happy to support you during the first few weeks of your pup setting in. Do your research on your chosen breed and get to know your breeder on a personal level before committing to anything. Remember, a dog can live 10 -13 years on average so choose wisely.