As the first born of three children, I like to humbly imagine that my entry into my parent’s world was the event that changed our family forever. I mean, having your first child is a big deal. Or at least that’s what I’m told. However, twenty-four years after my grand entrance, I think all of the McClain’s can agree that my little brother altered all of our lives the most. Not only did he change us, but he made us better as a family. There’s no denying that now.
For years, it was just me, my parents, and my little sister Lindsey. Will was born in 2008. I was almost fifteen and Lindsey was eleven. Now that’s an age gap! From day one, he was perfect. Our little guy has brought us all so much joy. Being able to watch my brother grow up is such a unique blessing. Today, Will is eight years old. He loves cars, planes, and his weekly swim lesson. Bananas are his favorite snack. He is great at reading and spelling, and is always in the mood to watch a good Disney movie.
Unfortunately, Will is not without his challenges. When he was two, he was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. He also deals with multiple food allergies and a seizure disorder, among other medical issues. Although he is verbal, he struggles to engage in typical conversation. Therefore, we encourage him to communicate through writing. Despite his challenges, Will remains brave, kind, and very happy. As a family, we are adamant that he is not defined by his challenges and diagnoses. Rather, he is defined by his gentle heart and his resiliency. And that’s why I’m proud to be his sister.
Last year, my mom decided to begin homeschooling my brother. One day, after a challenging lesson, she asked him what she could do to make him happy. Will wrote in response “I want dog.” Surprised, she asked him the same question again. He responded even more specifically, “I want puppy.” I know it’s cliché to say “And the rest is history…” but from that moment forward my parents were eager to find him a furry friend who would fit his needs. I try to ignore the fact that Lindsey and I asked for a family dog for years…to no avail. But as I explained above, Will is special.
After a few days of research, my parents stumbled upon Lead with Love, and were excited to discover that we wouldn’t be on a waiting list for two years. Jenna and Vera understood exactly what we were looking for, and helped us through the process of choosing the right type of dog for Will. The training process will begin this summer, just a few months after Will’s initial puppy request.
Our hope for Will’s new puppy is that she’ll love him as much as we do. We hope that she’ll be a calming presence for him in and out of the house. We hope she’ll be a friend to him as he grows up and not everyone quite understands him. We also hope she doesn’t chew on our shoes too much.
Welcome to the McClain household, Abby the golden doodle!! We can’t wait to love you!