A Boy, A Puppy, and a Crate

Puppy Pile

  On the last Sunday in September eleven years ago, Max and i drove two hours to meet the puppy i had prayed ten years for.
  Small, sturdy, sound temperament, raised with a large, happy family of children, knowing nothing but  boisterous love.
  We met The Perfect Corgi (Puppy), her mom,  and her nine surviving littermates.
  That's her, licking my face above.  (We nearly came home with her brother Bright Eyes, on the right, also.)
"We choose each other!"
  For whatever reason, only the two of us made the trip.  Since i did not want to be responsible for both Max, who was at a very difficult period of his life, and a new puppy alone, i chose to return on Thursday for the puppy.

  In between, i bought the Puppy Kit: bowls, leash, collar, grooming supplies.  The Crate.

  The Crate is a medium size dog portable crate.  Puppy still enjoys sleeping in it, and sometimes i use it so she can travel in the car.  i actually confined her in it at night until she was 5 or 6, though she really didn't need it so long.  These days, the door is off.

  But i get ahead of the story.
  The first lesson was, Max, you do not get to toss Puppy into the crate whenever you are done with her.  Puppy is alive just like you are.  You can hurt her.  Unfortunately that did happen, but Puppy was not hurt badly.  Max was not hurt at all, and one incident was all he needed.
    The next lesson came with an almost comic dilemma.  Max loved The Crate.  He wanted it for his own.  Not Puppy''s.

  So, i ask you, what should i have done?
  It is well-known in autism circles that people with autism respond well to pressure in some, especially stressful circumstances.  A quick Google search just now yielded 400,000 results.  Temple Grandin found pressure so helpful she developed a special  hug machine to retreat into (photo included).  Apparently Max was receiving a similar benefit from shoving his head and shoulders into TPC's crate and upending rocking chairs over himself.  (Hug Machine brought 5,200,000 Google results.)

  But both for the dog's comfort and the family's overall well-being that crate needed to be TPC's retreat.  The first two weeks we had her, she preferred to be either on me or in her crate, comfort spaces.  We could not allow Max to shut her out.

  So, what to do?  We couldn't find instructions at the time to build a Hug Machine.  The cost of one was prohibitively expensive.  We considered, and rejected, buying a larger crate, to use either doorless or with the door inside out, just for Max.

  Actually, if we had the liberty to consider only Max's best interests, i still believe that's what we should have done.  A crate of his own that Max could fit himself entirely into.
  But we couldn't consider  things just that simplistically.  i couldn't go to the pet supply store and LIE about this huge dog i don't have.  i probably would have taken him to try a crate on for size.
  Can you imagine a quick trip to  CPS?
  Because Everyone Knows that the only reason to get a dog crate for your kid is to put him in it.
  And Everyone Knows that confining a kid in a dog crate is cruel.

   Max survived that stage without either hug machine or crate. And he learned how to behave around a puppy.  They are hardly the boy and his dog picture perfect image, but they are, in their own way, much attached to each other.
  And anyone want to toss in suggestions for handling this better?

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