Video

Awakening

Before I share the events of March 9, 2010, I think I should tell about a couple of other events that had happened.

In the midst of this, I felt myself so lost and confused that I often fantasized about not breathing anymore. I stopped feeling much of anything and packed up my jewelry. It was if my body could do nothing else and wanted to escape at all cost. I was so depleted and progress was so slow. I felt that there was no way I could do this any longer. At the darkest moment,  I had another experience.

There was another profound dream like message I got. There are not many words I can find to really describe this but I felt in my bones a message that said, “ Fantasy will bridge that gap to spirituality.” I was inside a brain that was not my own and I sensed it was a brain that was different or what we call autistic. The dendrites of the brain were lit up on the left side but there was no connection to the right or in the middle. As the voice came through , I could see lightening bolts as the synapses were connecting and webbing together to make this union. Suddenly I understood how to create a circuit but there had to be some activation first.

This was not like a silly little dream. It was a command. I felt my core filling with this message and I had no choice but to give myself over to this thought that was much more powerful than my entire existence.

I took Ridge to the bus stop and rushed into the local book store. I was almost in a daze as I felt something was moving me. I walked along the aisles and a book display jumped out at me. It was called “Fablehaven” by Brandon Mull. The cover was a scary looking witch with bright colors. I knew Ridge would not be interested because he couldn’t read at that level and the topic would be “stupid” to him. He liked books on science and factual information only. It didn’t matter though. I grabbed it and a few others and bought them.

I showed him the book after school and he reacted as I had feared. He was not only disinterested but became aggressive when I tried to read it to him. I didn’t give up and made a contract with him to just listen to the first chapter for a reward the next night.

Finally he agreed and as I read the story, I knew I had been divinely led to this particular book. The characters were a young boy and his older sister just like Ridge and Maddie. They were going to stay at there grandparent’s home and were not happy about the trip. Instantly, Ridge ripped the page and threw the book across the room! He said it was so unfair to force the children to do this and I learned that Ridge DID have empathy. He actually had too much and was overly sensitive! I also learned that he had no coping skills to problem solve. He had no faith that a problem could be solved. Now I understood why the book was so important. I described math problems and patterns in science that he understood and I told him that there was a pattern here too. If he could just accept the parts that felt uncomfortable long enough, he could see how the story would change and solutions would come. This story represented our lives! He had been choosing to avoid life by staying with what he was comfortable with. His fear and over sensitivities had sent him over the edge so many times that he was terrified of anything he could not predict. It was still all about fear and his behaviors kept him in a cycle that would not allow growth.

I knew that we had to get through that book. I prayed and asked God to help me say the right things. After the first chapter, Ridge started to interact with the story. He was seeing the little boy as himself.  He suddenly got excited one day after I read part of the story that explained how a character was feeling and thinking. Most books that Ridge could read (1st grade level) did not go into such details and relied on pictures for meaning. Ridge had never understood the pictures or the facial expressions most of us understand!

 No wonder why he had hated stories! With the structure of language that described the character’s internal thoughts and feelings, he was able to understand. He was so happy and so was I! We completed that novel and then it was like he was starving for knowledge. He would beg for me to read to him before school, after school until he fell asleep and literally ALL weekends.

I was so hoarse but I knew this was something he needed and the stories were totally addictive. Thank goodness we had a Kindle because we got snowed in for a few weeks and all we did was read- we would go through series after series and my brain was getting fried. He remembered it all and I could not keep up. ( The next year he had over 500 AR points from remembering these books and taking tests on them.)

I was also doing repeated readings with him at home to strengthen his own reading ability. He was truly dyslexic and could guess words by context but sounding out was impossible for him. However, the repetition of reading the same paragraph over and over seemed to be helping his brain see patterns that no instruction ever could. It was also a good way for me to practice using a celeration chart and he could see his time and fluency improvements.

I started reading A Course In Miracles again on March 9, 2010. The first lesson is “Nothing I see in this room means anything.” I called my friend and we discussed how the course teaches that what we see is only what we have been taught to see and how spirit sees Truth. It retrains you to move out of projections and into accepting the Holy Spirit to lead you to a greater reality. It is about changing our perceptions. Maybe this was the pre-show to sort of prepare me for the afternoon. I had no idea what was coming.

On March 9, 2010 Ridge was reborn. He went to school as usual but when I picked him up there had been a miracle. He was not only chatting away in the car but he was making eye contact and when we picked up his older sister, he asked her how her day was. She looked at me as if it was a joke. Not knowing how to respond she sort of half heartedly complied and so Ridge started asking more questions.

“If you could be a super hero, what special powers would you have?”  “What is it like to be in middle school?”

He listened to her answers and asked for clarification. He was tuned in and we all had no idea what to do because this was not the same Ridge we known for 10 years!!!

I was trying to sort out what was happening. He had had a seizure several months before and I was wondering if this was a prelude to another one.

I called my sister and without prepping her and I asked her to speak to Ridge on the phone. She laughed because she expected his usual growl and refusal to speak. Instead he said, “Hi, Aunt Marsha! How are you? What do you do all day now that you are retired? What is your favorite hobby?…” This went on for about 20 minutes and he very politely said, “Well, I guess you may want to talk to mom. It was nice speaking with you today.”

I got back on the phone and my sister said, “Oh my God! What has happened? Get a video camera and record this! Is he on a new drug? “

I assured her that nothing had changed and this was how he got off the bus. Unbelievable is an understatement. He told me that he was thinking about his arm and that it automatically moves but he can think about moving it and control it so maybe he could do the same with other thoughts. He decided to stop his negative thoughts and it worked. He said that he could control it and that he noticed other people were not aggravated at his growling.

I grabbed the camera and treaded lightly because he had been in this nonstop chatter mode for several hours. I asked him to share what happened at school and he willingly complied.

Here is part of the transcript of one of the videos:

Ridge says:

“I have discovered that all you really have to do is don’t focus on what you don’t want to do. And by complaining you are focusing on it. If I am complaining and focusing on what I don’t want so I am not really doing anything. So when I am not focusing on what I don’t want and I am just doing it, it goes so fast.

Today I tried it and I wasn’t complaining and I wasn’t aggravating anybody.

I have a theory that you can do anything if you want to.

A few weeks ago I discovered it but I never really fully embraced it. So, I embraced it today and it worked out great. I wasn’t complaining about anything and I focused on the good things and I really didn’t focus on the bad things  so I couldn’t find anything that was bad today.

Just do it! “ 

Me- Today you have had such nice manners, helped Maddie fold clothes, bought her gum, asked our opinions, what has changed?

I was focusing on the good things in life.”

Me-Did you like talking to us?

“Yes!

Me- What were you saying about books?

“The best one- is it tells what everybody thinks about. Like if you were a stinkbug or something it would tell what the stinkbug was thinking about.

Let’s focus on what I have learned. That mainly, if you want to do it, you can do it.”

Me-What would you say to someone that is struggling with this?

Have  you , you probably focused on the negative. Just don’t even think about it.”

Mom-Do you have to retrain your brain?

Yes.Train it to not think about the negatives. Never!”

Go to :

I called my teacher and mentor Alan Cohen and shared the story because I could hardly believe it was true. He asked me to join him on a spiritual group telephone call  to share this experience with others. When I tucked Ridge into bed, I went to my computer and cried into my keyboard. I was not sure if he would still be like this in the morning or if he would be the other Ridge again. It was so hard to believe. I thought of that movie, Lorenzo’s Oil and wracked my brain to try to figure out what was the new variable. Nothing came to mind.

This started a new era in all of our lives. He still had a few moments of “negativity” and melt downs but this discovery of his brought a new level of self control.

Suddenly, his reading ability jumped from barely a 1st grade level to a 3rd grade level. Then it got better. He even started reading the higher level books.

One of my professors (Andrew Houvouras)shared some research with me on Video Self Monitoring and this became my favorite technique.He encouraged me to challenge Ridge and to set higher goals. My mom wanted me to take her to Hawaii but I didn’t want to go without my family and assumed that it would be impossible. He said, “Why not?” So, I changed my mind on my expectations.

I reinforced Ridge’s new awareness with all I could and started to challenge him to do more things like go out to eat in a restaurant or to go on short day trips. I would video him and edit out any parts of noncompliance and he would watch himself having a good time. I started planning and preparing him for a family adventure to fly to Hawaii, stay in various hotels, take a cruise and fly back. This took a lot of prepping but he proved to be the most happy person on the trip!

It was magical and everyone was happy.

I believe that my “dream” had come true. The fantasy stories had lit up an area of his brain that had not been so active before. Once he was able to connect the feelings and thoughts of the characters by the explicit descriptions used in the text, to his own thoughts and feelings he mastered empathy. The “mind blindness” could now see as his brain was rewiring itself. I still was unsure of the spirituality part as Ridge could never handle being in any churches or listen to any of my spiritual books. However, there was a sweetness that he started to share with people. He always loved and protected babies and dogs but he was starting to extend kindness like never before. I accepted that as the most authentic form of spirituality that there is -love.

I wrote a book to chronicle what had happened because I could hardly believe it. Ridge even helped me to make a video about it.

Go to:

We moved back to Florida and I signed Ridge up for football because this was a “normal” peer activity, he could get some exercise and I hoped the social structure of a team would help him to connect.I had worked with a lady that sponsored the cheerleaders and her husband was a coach so this made me feel safer. (Thank you, Tristan and Danielle Curry.)It was a series of melt downs due to extreme anxiety and daily resistance at home. I used video self modeling to film hours of practice and then I would edit out only the happy spots to “prove” to him that he had had been successful-to replace his “catastrophising” . It was also very important to show him his progress as he learned about his own learning curve. Football was the biggest challenge and the biggest reward. Ridge found the instructions and positive reinforcement helpful as he learned the skills and felt part of the team. ( I have several videos on You Tube because at the time I wanted to share them with Tim since he stayed in Virginia and then moved to Alabama without us) 

He made a friend!!! The coaches encouraged him and he started respond to the positive reinforcement. The video doesn’t show the refusals to get out of the car, the chewed up mouthpieces or any melt downs.He would get dressed around noon for the 4 pm practice and just rock back and forth. It was so hard to push him but I knew that the outcome was worth the pain. The videos proved his progress and need to stick with it to me probably more than to him. It was a path of trials but he was a hero now and he could do it.

I went to every practice and sat there the entire time because he needed the assurance that I was there. There were a few parking lot fits and a couple of close calls when he told me to “sign him out” but he managed well for the most part. By the end of the season he even said it was great.

Patrice Hay sat out on that field with me many times. Thank God for her support. I felt alone but angels appeared and pulled us along.

Go to:

 

Going back to the school that had treated him so poorly was not easy. He was bullied by a boy that said he remembered what Ridge had done and that his dad said if he came near him , that they would get an attorney and sue us. Lovely…

The price of being a social outcast is very high. The challenge to overcome it was daunting even for a 4th grader. K-1 was total frustration and anger.  2nd grade had been all about his anger and rage that was only reinforced by constant triggers and lack of any positive reinforcement for wanted behaviors. 3rd grade was a blessing to start anew and have time to recover and “awaken” to his ability to control his thoughts. 4th grade was a blend of facing the past with a new system. Thank God for the highly skilled and caring teacher that provided the structure and kindness needed to make this work. His awakened self was in charge.

The principal did not even recognize Ridge. He told me that he had never seen anything like it. Ridge’s reading had improved but his writing was still a challenge. We asked for a text to print software and it was not as easy as it sounded but we made it work.

By this time, Ridge really hated having a behavior analyst around. He had learned with me the jargon and ways of ABA and he was self managing most of the time. It is always a good thing to see a person taking off the training wheels and I moved into a more supportive role providing structure and reinforcement in a less intense level.

5th grade was a breeze and Ridge was winning awards for science and behavior! He was now known as a leader and one of the best behaved kids in school. His “graduation” from elementary school was a hard battle won.

Then we moved to Texas.

Back to School

Summer is a coveted time for my son to escape from demands of school. Ridge loves his free time and needs it to rest and get bored enough to willingly engage in the world again.
We did not make any trips this summer. We enjoyed going to the river a few times. It was successful because of familiarity, past success, preferred food items, and favorite people.
It may sound silly to think of “fun” in this way but having spent so many years in constant anxiety with forcing and fighting the unwilling child, it is ingrained to my very core.
I managed a few horse camping adventures without the family and this was good for everyone but required a lot of work and planning.
Is it worth it? Yes.
When I was first introduced to ABA , I had some difficulty with the concepts of reinforcement and all the “work” of analyzing behaviors. Part of me thought it was ridiculous and I wanted my child to behave “because he was supposed to”. Although I knew the current plan was not working, I was reluctant to change because I truly felt I was doing the best I could. I was…until my knowledge base expanded and I changed my approach. It was not easy but my new behaviors were reinforced by my son’s new behaviors.
Last week,I overheard Ridge tell his sister that he no longer has Aspergers. I didn’t say anything but later I asked him what he meant. He said that he knows he used to have behavior problems but that they are no longer a part of him. He said that he still has anxiety but he doesn’t let it control him. I asked how he does this and he said he just sees it and remembers that things usually work out better than he feels at the moment.
Wow… He is mindful. He is observing himself. He has mastered what I am try to do with meditation and mind training programs.
Football practice started this week. We had to get up in the dark and I had taken Benadryl for a cold so I was totally out at 6AM. Ridge woke me up and was ready for me to drive him. He was nervous but as he had said, he pushed through.
When I picked him up he was laughing with the other boys. I asked how it went and he said that as soon as he saw his friends, his fear subsided and it went well.
All the years of pushing him to join in suddenly seemed worth it. The natural reinforcement of friendship has taken over and he no longer plays football with a behavior contingency plan.
He likes it.
He likes his coaches.
He likes his friends.
He likes himself as a member of a group.
He wore his CHS shirt into a restaurant and the manager asked about the team. Ridge seemed a bit confused at first because he has never had a “group” identity. Then the man offered him a job!
We had a great discussion about experiences and how others perceive a person. I was so proud of Ridge for the years and years of work it has taken to stand in such a wonderful spot.
Today, he stepped up a little more in independency. After practice, he went to the school and turned in his paperwork and got his schedule without me. I purposely stayed away until he called.I carefully “felt out” his ability to do this on his own. As I drove in to pick him up there was a traffic back up so I called him and he agreed to walk to the convenience store (something he has always been fearful of doing).
I parked and went in to reinforce this event with a soda. I saw a HUGE refillable drink container and bought it. Sugar is not good for a person but in this instant the novelty and volume was too tempting.
I came out to my car trying to carry this monster cup and Ridge was walking up laughing at the spectacle. He told Maddie later how funny it was to see mom struggling with the gigantic cup.
He didn’t drink all of it and suggested we use it for water.
I still use my computer and laminator to help Ridge. The daily visual schedule has been replaced with his regular school schedule and the school calendar. I did write important dates on a desk calendar for him and he took it to his room and hung it on his wall. We all can use organization. He may be even ahead of his peers at this point.
I am proud of Ridge for his willingness to push through the times he feels so uncomfortable. I am proud of my ABA training too. It helped me to keep perspective and break things into small steps. I learned the value of positive reinforcement and the importance of consistency.
This weekend, I found a stray cat that had been abandoned by its owners. I didn’t want her. She was terribly skinny and loud from constantly crying. I brought her home and was amazed at how loving and kind Ridge has been with her. He slowly integrated her meeting the dogs. He feeds her and reassures her that she is ok. Food and water are plentiful here. Her voice is changing from a loud cry to a sweet mew. She wants to fight the dogs and that resistance will take more time to resolve. We just ignore the hissing and pet her.
Her recovery is all of our recovery.
I am so appreciative to see this side of the game. Many of you are in the middle of the highs and lows of the battles. Just don’t give up. Stop any negative voice of guilt and fear that may waylay your progress. Love what is -even if you have to pretend a little.
I hope your back to school time is an easy transition. I have been planning, preparing, getting routines going, simplifying some things and resting. (I also escaped to a see Bad Moms and snuck in a wine cooler. Yep, I laughed like crazy….)

Summer

Last summer, Ridge had planned to attend a summer program at a local university for engineering. We found out that the daily schedule was changed to take up most of the day and I agreed with him that it might be too stressful. I was disappointed because I thought it would be a  good opportunity.

On his own, Ridge made up a list of daily goals that he would do instead. Maybe he was trying to assure me that he would not just stay in his room all summer. It was a perfect example of self management. He soon became stressed as he did not always complete everything on his list and even though it was his choice he still felt rule governed.

I suggested that he re-write the list and prioritize a few things and create “optional” activities. He thought about it and the next day reported that he had indeed taken my advice and it was a more workable system.

I was so proud of him for superseding his default buttons and modifying his behavior and mindset to adjust to his own needs. This took a great deal of self awareness, reflection, and honesty.

How many times have all of us tried a new diet or exercise plan that was not practical to our lifestyle? I remember asking my brother about the best exercise plan a few years ago as he was a competitive triathlon guy. He said, “The best plan is one that you will do.

Yesterday was Ridge’s last day as a freshman in high school. He seemed melancholy and I asked him what was wrong. He said that he was going to miss it! Holy Cow what a first!!!

I expected him to miss the order of the day, the systems in place for lunches, exercise and social time.

I was pleasantly surprised that he has made a few deep connections with some of his teachers this year. He especially liked his Spanish 2 teacher because he was a very consistent teacher that expected a lot from his students. He engaged the students with active responding and gave a tremendous amount of positive feedback. Ridge said that he never embarrassed a person but was totally willing to help them as long as they gave some effort. Sadly, some of the students preferred to be lazy and refused to participate. This became a big issue for Ridge. He regularly discussed his anger with the other students that were disrespectful to the teacher. On a few occasions he felt like he was close to a melt down in the teacher’s defense! I congratulated him on his self control. He overheard one girl say that she was going to tell her parents that the teacher assaulted her when she was mad. I was about to intervene at that point but I asked Ridge what he thought and he said she was just showing off to cover up her insecurities. Geez!

Not only did he learn a lot of Spanish, but he has learned some very important life lessons. A good teacher teaches so much more than they ever know. Thanks, Mr. Riley.

How sad it is that by the time kids get to high school, so many have already become totally shut down and bitter about life. Ridge thinks it is because they have been forced their entire lives in what to say, how to think and what to wear so they are acting out against the teachers because it is the only place they can. Ridge has never been much of a conformist and has always feared authority figures. He can differentiate and respects those authentic and caring people he encounters –not all teachers are power hungry bullies. He has learned how to manage by discriminating the personality types he meets and by adjusting accordingly. In the past, his fear caused him to generalize all teachers and administrators into one category.

FullSizeRender.jpgI typed up a little plan this morning of activities that I thought he would like to do. Instead of forcing the goals, I was able to ask him what he thought about it and he seemed to be appreciative. He has learned that he likes a certain amount of order and planning along with his “scheduled freedom”. Sounds like a good idea for me too!

Ridge’s Plan

SUMMER 2016

Daily Activities  (5/7 days per week)

  • CrossFit
  • Meditation-Deep Breathing
  • Driving Practice
  • Work on arena wall
  • Fresh Juice

Other:

  • Outdoor trips-tubing in the fiver, picnic, dog walks, state parks
  • Read or listen to audiobooks
  • ICES Machine
  • Hot/Cold Shower
  • Cook meal once per week
  • Social get togethers
  • Metal projects

Demonic Monkey

As a follow up to the idea that we can observe ourselves when become agitated like a nervous monkey, I remembered this song my oldest son sang about 10 years ago.

The key to awareness is in practiced observation of ourselves. Just by observing and watching what our bodies feel and our mind thinks gives us the space to self manage.

The goal is not to attack the “monkey mind” but to see it, learn from it and adjust accordingly.

Sometimes we feel stress and anxiety but push it back and it builds up inside our bodies so much that we get physically ill. This repression will often come out later in situations that may not warrant the extreme behaviors that we may exhibit.

Getting upset at our reactions can actually make our anxiety worse. We must learn to observe, accept and listen to our bodies. Instead of fighting the demonic monkey we must learn to love it.

Fears and Mental Perseverations


Recently , I attended a conference hosted by Martha Beck. She shared the idea that we often react to a problem like a nervous monkey letting our reptilian brain run wild .  We can also observe ourselves and say , “the monkey is nervous”. If we allow spirit to speak we might say, “Awe, monkey ” with love and acceptance. These three mental thought perspectives are possible and we can train ourselves to use the higher perspective that helps us to be happy and productive.

This idea is challenging for adults but most spiritual development recognizes the value of this inner work.

Persons on the spectrum often experience exaggerated responses to fears and triggers. Recently , my son was alone at our home when he saw someone at our gate. He tried to call me but I was at a meeting and did not hear the phone ring. His mind went wild and he felt threatened so he grabbed a weapon and hid in the closet.  By the time I saw his phone calls and was headed home, it was over but he was still very agitated. 

At 16, this may seem unusual for most people but I bet other parents can relate. I felt so bad for him and I felt bad for myself. 

I started thinking of replacement behaviors of deep breathing and alternatives to teach him to try. (The person in the driveway turned out to be his older sister and her friend.) I have realized that I can not predict every possible scary situation that he will be faced with in life and I can not always be available to fix his problems.

The best I can do is to reinforce his own ability to observe himself and maybe recognize “the nervous monkey” and try to calm himself. Acceptance of his emotional state is important. 

Martha Beck did not mention the mamma monkey scenario. At some point we can’t carry out baby monkeys any more.  My heart hurts to see his struggle.

All I can say is , “Awe monkey…” to both of us. 

Awareness

I think that people on the spectrum are great teachers to us mere neurotypicals.  Just this weekend, my son was invited to a friend’s home for a sleepover and to work on a group work project for a school assignment. This is usually stressful because he considers the weekend his off duty time. He really really loves to stay in his room and relax after a week of meeting school and social demands. He justified the experience because:

 1. He needed to go for the assignment.

 2. He has been to this friend’s home many times before and his parents are always supervising and provide foods he likes- pizza and breakfast burritos.

3. He took my cot- tent so he could have his own bed and privacy (he just sets it up inside).

4. He had a 5 pound bag of Jolly Ranchers that I bought him to share.

This may seem odd to NT teenager parent but these plans help him to alleve anxiety and help him to focus.

The family threw a kink in the plans because they wanted to take the boys to a flea market. This was an unplanned event      but Ridge went. He came in with some antique backpack and an “I Love Dachsunds” sign. 

He said he had had a good time and that he even relaxed his normal “work tyrant” attitude. I asked why and he said that even though he has tried in the past to make the group stay on the project , it never worked and just made him angry. This time he said he just tried to go with it. What?????? Did I hear this correctly??


So here is what I think we can all learn to do more of-

  • Be aware of your needs and plan accordingly .
  • Notice your own behavior and how it affects others.
  • When your attempts aren’t working, change.
  • Love what you love!

Thanks Ridge. 

LAUGH

When you experience opposition along the ASD path, it is very normal to feel anxiety, mistrust, bodily pain and fear. It is easy to feel that life is against our children and our families. Be careful of this dark trap!

I could not see it at the time of my son’s most challenging behaviors, but looking back ,I can see that what happened was NEEDED in order to learn and grow-for all of us.

No one wants to watch their children suffer at the hands of a seemingly uncaring world. However, we as parents can prevent progress by our own negative attitudes.

In my experience, I have learned that force doesn’t work well.Once we fight and win one thing, we have to keep fighting to keep it.

The truth is that there are many people in the world that want to help our children be successful-not just us. Finding those special people makes life much better!

The world really isn’t conspiring against us. Our kids often believe this and we must meet this test with acceptance and optimism of a good ending so that we can counter balance “catastrophizing.”

At times we may feel isolated and alone. Sometimes I really was. But not really because this pushed me to listen to Spirit and follow a path that was new to me but definitely the right one. We can always lean on the support that is not seen by our human eyes.

Life is more joyful when we can lay aside feelings of mistrust. I had to question myself many times before I could accept that my son’s teachers were not trying to hurt him.

As parents, we have more power than we realize. Our willpower alone can move mountains. Because the path is filled with surprises and fear, sometimes we become too meek or sometimes we become too forceful to bring true progress. If we can continue to look for the good in others , be tolerant, and use gentle goodwill we will steadily move forward.

When those moments pop up that trigger our doubts and fears, try to stay focused on the task at hand rather than letting the situation engulf into the evidence of a bigger problem.

It is not easy to stand up for your child’s rights without feeling defensive. The cost of the negativity is that it impedes progress.

We must continually cultivate inner independence and trust our inner guidance system for creative solutions. Keep a balance in your life by finding your own innocence and playful nature that needs to be replenished.

Take a break this weekend and climb a tree, play in a bathtub of jello, make mud pies, jump on a trampoline, or some other stress free game. Be an innocent child for a few minutes and bask in the freedom from responsibilities. Fifteen minutes can do wonders to restore your soul.

Here is a great example:

Empathy

13221441_10207963466662619_4481989282307797146_n.jpg

Yesterday we had a sudden storm with lots of lightning! The animals were afraid and so was I.

Ridge and Tim were driving down the road when a dachshund ran out. Ridge jumped out of the car and tried to comfort her. He was afraid that she was going to be hit and so he brought her home. I posted photos of her on Facebook in our local community page and he made signs to put up.

Later , he put a leash on her and walked her around the area that he found her and she went to a particular gate. They left a note and the owner called to come get her.

Ridge was afraid for the dog but when the owner came, “Sage” went wild. He was very happy to have reconnected them. He came home and said that he had to go to bed because he had gotten so emotionally involved that he was wiped out!

His mind could think of nothing else but trying to protect this dog and the stress of his worry had exhausted him. I think it is evident that he has empathy. If anything he is more sensitive to animals and others.

I am very glad that he was able to recognize his own need for rest too. He is learning to navigate in this world living in his own way with truth and love. Maybe we can all learn from this special group of people.