- Misha has autism and his irrational fear of dogs has become a phobia.
- He has avoided encounters with dogs until recently, he played with one at the beach.
- He enjoyed the moment and realized the dog was friendly, now he’s asking for more bonding with the furry friend.
While for many people, having pet dogs can make them calm and relaxed, Misha Brandt feels otherwise.
Misha is a 15-year-old loving and cheerful boy with autism. But ever since he was a child, he’s been fearful of dogs and tried to stay away from them.
“He developed irrational fears, not uncommon with children with autism. Most of my son’s irrational fears subsided over time, but his fear of dogs grew to a phobia,” his mom, Angela Brandt, who is also Ontario Autism Coalition’s vice president, told The Dodo.
While Misha fears dogs, he doesn’t hate them at all — matter of fact, he quite likes them.
“He loves watching dogs play!” Angela said. “He’s still scared when dogs approach and get too close, but now he approaches all dogs and asks their names.”
Misha has been avoiding encounters with dogs his whole life. But that changed last week.
They were at the beach to have some bonding moments and they were joined by a family friend who is an autism advocate. He also tagged along his retired service dog named Basil.
“That was a huge step for him,” Angela said. “When I saw Misha enjoying himself, it made my heart happy.”
But Misha did something for the first time that made his mom so thrilled — he played with Basil!
Basil on the other hand was very friendly and Misha’s fear of dogs started to dissipate.
That day was the turning point in Misha’s life. He has experienced the joy of having a dog companion and now, he wants more of it.
“Misha has already asked to play again with Basil!” Angela said.
So Misha and Basil had another playdate which the boy did another incredible milestone — he held a dog’s leash for the first time!
This sure is a start of a new journey in life for Misha — something more wonderful in the presence of dogs. Soon enough, the joy and comfort of having a furry friend to come home to would become a reality for him.
“I hope that Basil will help Misha develop a bond with a dog of his own one day,” Angela said. “I would love for him to have a companion that loves him unconditionally. I am much more optimistic than just a few months ago. It’s a feeling of contentment knowing he will know the love an animal can provide.”
Source: The Dodo