Mineral Monday No More

Well, the first ever Mineral Monday turned out to be the last —

and yet, I raised $200 in that time.

I refunded it all, of course, with a nice thank you note to everyone who donated. Duh. Of course, there probably are some people who wouldn’t have refunded it, but do I really strike you as one of those people?

What happened was this: Megan, of Triumphant Tails, met with us three times. The first time with all of us, the second time with just the kids and me during a “normal” school day and the third time at Costco. She noted immediately that Mineral has severe ADHD. She also noticed his other issues — I guess the best word to use is SENSITIVITIES. He cannot control his emotions when his senses get overwhelmed (which is constantly because he’s so sensitive. And repeat.)

I literally cannot stress enough how sensitive he is — and it’s in ways that make absolutely no sense to you or me, yet it’s impossible to reason with him about these sensitivities.

Imagine if Hillary Clinton was living with Ann Coulter, and every time Hillary said something, Ann Coulter cried and went to her room — or had a violent outburst, either toward Hillary or someone nearby Hillary. Or toward just any old thing that was in the same room. Now imagine Ann Coulter had some talisman and when she was without those talismen, she behaved in ways that were not socially appropriate. The entire world is Hillary Clinton. Mineral is Ann Coulter.

After the second time we met, Megan suggested that we start fundraising, since a Service Dog is expensive. After emailing the few people I knew who have any kind of fundraising experience, I made a gofundme.com page and linked it to my personal Facebook.

  • The first donation was from an amazing woman named Joy, who I’ve “known” in the online world since Animal and Mineral were little babies.
  • The second donation was from My Chemical Romance’s sister, Julie, whose husband is currently training with the Army, while she’s home taking care of their son — and is pregnant! (I have three nephews, I’m really hoping for a niece.)
  • The third donation was from a friend of Julie’s, who saw the information on her Facebook page. How generous is that — we don’t even know them personally!
  • The fourth donation was from a homeschool mom who has taught Mineral twice in co-op. He loves her classes!

We met with Megan again on Friday, spending an hour in Costco with five kids, three adults and two service dogs. Megan helped Mineral work with one of the Service Dogs. Later she broke it down for me: She doesn’t think a Service Dog will help him ENOUGH to make the investment of time, money and energy worthwhile. Even when he’s on his ADHD medication, she thinks he lacks the focus to train consistently.

I can see that.

Further, she thinks it will be difficult within our family — for Mineral to have a dog that’s “his” yet still have to share it with the other kids, and for the other kids to see Mineral get a dog.

I can see that too.

She said that while she could get a dog and train with him, the effort would mostly be mine, not his, and that she didn’t think it was worth the time and money and effort I’d end up investing.

Ultimately, she’s the expert, and I think she’s right.

I was totally bummed out at first. But really, I just wish there was something — SOMETHING — that could help him be more “normal.” Occupational therapy helps, as does psychotherapy (his therapist recently said on the phone to me, “He’s REALLY sensitive,”) and speech therapy makes him better able to communicate. Psychiatry provides him with the meds that keep him as focused as possible. But even doing all that, he struggles, and I struggle as his mom.


Mineral Monday: I ate a dog biscuit

Perhaps you’ve noticed the new widget in the right-hand column on this page, the one that says A SERVICE DOG FOR MINERAL/PLEASE CLICK THE PICTURE TO DONATE. (If you don’t see it, scroll down a bit.) the new button above the blog that says SERVICE DOG. And perhaps you clicked on it and read it and thought, “Dude. I thought Animal and Mineral were nine; that kid looks five.” Yes. It’s an old picture. I put it up because he looks so happy and carefree. It’s not a look I’ve seen much of in the last approximately four years.

It’s something I want to see again from him, a genuinely happy smile. I think a Service Dog will help him find his smile again.

We’ve already met with Megan from Triumphant Tails. She has observed Mineral twice (and will again on Tuesday; we’re all going to Costco). She thinks a service dog could help him — but it’s a long, slow process, and she wants to take her time before looking for a dog for him.  She mentioned last week that she’s concerned because our house is so small (for seven people and one dog. It’s got four bedrooms and the space is much better-utilized than in our last house, but of course we all share rooms.) And also because we have so.many.young.kids. Yep. Isn’t that always a problem?

The challenge with having so many young kids is making sure that Mineral works with a dog within the parameters of our life (meaning, with all of us around) but that the other kids don’t interrupt that bonding. Megan actually prefers that families who have other children also have another dog — so the other kids don’t feel left out and can work with the other dog. So it’s awesome great fantastic good that we already have Maizey.

My Masterpiece (holding Wolfie, The Informant's wolf) and Maizey

Meanwhile, as I’ve mentioned before, a Service Dog will cost about $8000. Megan charges a training fee, and then an itemized monthly bill for dog food, treats, crate and traveling. We do not have $8000. If we had $8000, I might be typing this post from an iPad, or at least from an iPhone. Or I’d be typing this post while both of our cars were paid off and we only ever used our debit card to buy things.

I reached out to a friend who works at the Humane Society and asked if she knew any rich eccentric dog-loving people who wanted to provide money so that Mineral could get a Service Dog? She said no. But she suggested a fundraising site. So I made a page for Mineral, where anyone can donate.

(By the way, at first I had all my pages linked — fundraising page with twitter and Facebook; my blog with twitter and Facebook — but it quickly turned into a clusterfuck of social media in which I’M CONSTANTLY ASKING YOU TO DONATE MONEY. I find that really annoying, so my friend Rachael from Letters to Ames suggested I detach everything and simply pick one day per week to bombard you all with fundraising stuff. Thus, Mineral Mondays is born! Thank you, Rachael!)

I have several donation levels, including a video of barking children if you donate $25!

And — here’s the one you’ve all been waiting for — a video of myself eating a dog biscuit if you donate $100! Our very first donation was for $100. This is for you, Joy!

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