Navigating life with a teenager….who happens to have bipolar disorder

Animal Adventures

This week was spring break for my son.  He spent most of it playing in his game room and in the back yard. By Friday, I knew I had to get him out of the house.  I work from home, so I logged off early and made a plan to go on a little adventure.  As I mentioned in a previous post, my son loves animals of all kinds, so we had a weekend of animal adventures.

Noah’s Ark

If you are in the greater Atlanta area, I suggest you take a day and experience Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary.  It is a non-profit that provides a home for abused, unwanted,  or  special need wild animals.  They do not charge admission, but instead work based on donations.   For parents of kiddos with challenges, it is a great alternative to Zoo Atlanta.  Don’t get me wrong, we love the zoo and are members there, but if you have a child with special needs it can be overwhelming.  Noah’s Ark has wide pathways, tons of benches for regular ‘breaks’, picnic tables and a playground.

I loaded my son and my bonus kid (one of my son’s best friends) into the van and drove the 30 minutes to the park.  My son was grumbling about going on a mom planned adventure.  As soon as he got out of the car that all changed when he saw a peacock walking in front of him. I think my son appreciated it a bit more knowing that the animals were in a home, being loved regardless of their special needs.  We ended up having a wonderful afternoon walking amongst the animals.

Grey’s Land

About a month ago, our psychiatrist suggested we look into a therapy dog to calm my son through anxiety attacks and following manic episodes.  I have done a lot of research regarding therapy dog programs and truthfully, I think my son needs a companion dog more than a therapy dog.  I wouldn’t want us to go on a waiting list for one of these trained dogs and have somebody that needed it more to have to wait even longer.

After thinking about it for quiet sometime, I realized that breed is the most important aspect of having a calm companion dog.  In the past, my mom was an avid rescuer and had a multitude of dogs of all ages and breeds.  My favorite was her greyhound, Stevie, who had been a retired track rescue.  I remembered him being the calmest dog I had ever known.

We decided to schedule an appointment  and yesterday we took a drive up to Stone Mountain and visit Adopt a Greyhound Atlanta, otherwise known as Grey’s Land.  We not only met adoptable dogs, but others that were there being boarded.  They all had such great temperament and made our afternoon so enjoyable.

I think we, as a family, have decided that this is definitely the breed for us. It will take us a while to work on some responsibility rules with my son and find a dog that is the right personality fit.  I have a feeling that the summer will be quite another animal adventure.

***** Noah’s Ark is located in Locust Grove, GA

***** Adopt a Greyhound Atlanta is located in Stone Mountain, GA



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