Cowboy and Wills
by Monica Holloway
True story about a little boy with autism whose mom gets him a puppy he names Cowboy. The story tells of mom's ordeal after Wills' diagnosis, finding the right school and services, his struggles in school, the different pets she got for him prior to Cowboy, and the amazing turnaround in Wills' ability to socialize after Cowboy became part of their lives.
I worked as a secretary in child psychiatry for many years at Washington University School for Medicine, so I was curious to see the effect of a dog on a child with autism as well as an inside look of having an autistic child. At work I only saw the exhausted, frustrated looks on the parents' faces; I had no idea what went on at home or what they had to deal with, except what I saw in the waiting room.
Monica Holloway was honest and forthright in her feelings about Wills' diagnosis and how people were going to treat him differently and how he would be stereotyped. Her love for her son was obvious and her fight for getting help for him made me want to cheer, You go, girl! The best part, though, was what Cowboy did for Wills. She (yes, Cowboy was a female) transformed him. She helped him be sociable. She turned on a light for him in his world of darkness. Mind you, Wills probably had a diagnosis on the lower end of the autism spectrum, meaning he was more functional than some, but Cowboy definitely brought him out of his shell in an almost miraculous way. People who know me know that I believe dogs and other animals have a special healing spirit. Maybe more autistic kids could be helped this way. Who knows.
Do I Recommend?
Yes, especially if you have a child with autism or know someone who does, or if you love reading about animals and their special healing powers.