Some children with autism wander. Escape. Run. El Grande doesn't, and never has. So when this happened, it wasn't scary -- just odd. I was working on my laptop in the den when he got up to use the bathroom and didn't come back. When I realized he'd been gone for a while, I got up to see if he had a stomach-ache or other problem. He was out of the bathroom already. He hadn't come back to the den, he wasn't upstairs listening to the radio, he wasn't on the old computer in his sister's room. I looked outside in the backyard; he wasn't on the new backyard swing, either. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a tail wag. It was our neighbor's dog. Sure enough, El Grande was there on the driveway with the dog. This is an old and mellow dog (Shades of the old Beast
) who thrives on attention. When she's outside, she'll come to the side of the yard and make little noises for El Grande to come pet her. It's a win-win for both; El Grande gets to develop a relationship with a friendly dog, and the dog gets attention that the neighbors (parents of an adorable toddler) don't have enough time to give.