Last updated: 28 Oct, 2020
Published on: 16 Jun, 2015
Miss Mollie brings Ella out of her shell
Ella is autistic and came out of her shell the moment we adopted Miss Mollie - A beautiful friendship you made possible!
My 12-year-old daughter Ella has ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and sensory issues. Being high functioning Aspergers, she’s super-intelligent but has great difficulties interacting socially with people, including her classmates. And like many children and adults afflicted with the condition, Ella is very uncomfortable making eye contact or physical contact, or engaging in conversation. She’s been that way all her life.
As Ella was soon to start high school, I was desperate to find a way to help her make this huge transition and believed a rescue companion dog would be the perfect solution.
I was referred to a couple of specialist companion dog agencies, and asked if they could help us find a rescue dog for Ella. The waiting list for a trained dog was over a year, and I felt sure that saving the life of a rescue dog would be the best option for everyone.
I was advised against adoption, but I knew my instincts were right. So I set Ella the task of researching the right temperament for her needs.
Ella fully embraced the challenge. She researched full-on for a whole week. She made the decision that she didn’t want a big dog, or a yapper - she knew she wouldn’t be able to handle all the noise. She wanted a dog that was smart and would enjoy cuddles. And she found that a papillion mix would be a good match for her.
Now Ella knew what she wanted, I went along to Lort Smith Animal Hospital for advice on where to find rescue dogs, and they recommended the PetRescue website.
I told Ella to start looking on PetRescue, and in the very first day, BOOM, she found Miss Mollie’s photo and fell in love. She was like, this is it!
So we put in the application to adopt and waited for Sunraysia Animal Rehoming Group (SARG) to get back to us. I got nagged at least five times a day for a week or two! And when we got the news that our application was approved, we drove seven long hours, stayed overnight and went to meet Miss Mollie the next day.
As soon as Ella and Mollie saw each other, they were all over each other. Ella absolutely adored that dog from the very first moment. She was beside herself with excitement. It was such a joy to see Ella engaging so completely in the interaction with Mollie.
It took about eight hours to drive home, but Miss Mollie just slept curled up on Ella’s lap for pretty much the entire journey. They had an instant bond. And almost immediately after we brought Mollie home, Ella started coming out of her shell and talking to people. She was not only engaging in conversation, she was starting the conversation! She couldn’t wait to tell everyone about her awesome rescue dog.
Generally, the first thing she ever says to anyone is about Miss Mollie. It was the first thing she said to all her new high school teachers.
We laminated some photos so she could take them with her to school, to help her bond with her classmates and her teachers. And her favourite one is the original photo from the PetRescue website!
Miss Mollie is really smart too. One of the first things I organised was some one-on-one training for Ella and Mollie. And from there, I arranged some group training for them.
They now have their bronze certificate, and next month they are going for their silver certificate. It has helped them enormously, teaching them both skills that will benefit them in years to come.
But the best thing of all is how Miss Mollie has given Ella so much more confidence in everyday social situations. The change in Ella has been nothing short of miraculous.
It was a 15-hour round trip to get Mollie, but well worth it. Thank you for helping us find her!
Quite often, it’s people who need rescuing, and their adopted pets come to their rescue.
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