Need a Hero?
Meet Starbuck from Somebody to Love: Little Karl's Autism Assistance Dog.
First of all, we’re listing five facts about Starbuck so you can get a feel for him (and Starbuck won’t mind you feeling him, as long as you don’t brush his fur the wrong way).
Five FACTS about Starbuck:
- He’s trained perform tasks for people with sensory-processing disabilities, to help them gain independence and confidence, ultimately the ability to perform day-to-day activities, much
like everyone else.
- He’s also trained to help with mobility issues, lack
of awareness of danger in everyday situations, such as wandering off or ‘bolting’ thus ensuring the safety of his charge.
- He responds to a child’s repetitive behaviours. The hope is that, in ceasing or decreasing the repetitive behaviours, Karl might interact with Starbuck more, thus becoming more perceptive of the dog’s needs and hopefully transferring those accomplishments to humans.
- He helps Karl understand that he needs to wear his new shoes, which are unfamiliar therefore scary, so he won’t cut his feet when they go walkies.
- He loves the girl Mark loves and helps him to realise that he has to trust her enough to let him into his life - and his heart.
A brief EXCERPT showing our hero in action:
Mark sighed, despairing, as Karl backed around the coffee table for the umpteenth time, the tug-of-war with Starbuck in full swing. ‘Karl. Starbuck, Stop and… Sit and stay, Starbu… Jesus! Hold on.’
Mark dropped the phone and almost leapt the coffee table. Dammit, he knew this would happen. He winced as Karl lurched backwards, his head hitting the TV table with a sickening crack.
‘Okay, Karl. Okay.’ Mark dropped to his knees, gathering Karl to him, who, stunned for a second, started in on a tantrum that would probably be the mother of all tantrums.
Mark locked his arm around Karl’s upper torso, trying to assess the damage to the back of his head, which was nigh on impossible with Karl as rigid as a board, his head slamming backwards into Mark’s
‘Hold still, Karl,’ Mark dropped his own head to his son’s. Please hold still, he prayed, seeing blood on his shirt and feeling the kind of panic only a parent can.
Karl bellowed. Of course he would. Mark knew he would, but when he did Mark’s heart hammered like a train. It wasn’t the raucous roar, the endless screaming that seemed to go on until Karl had got things out
of his system.
He called for Starbuck.
Starbuck was there. Sitting right next to them, his tongue hanging out and a paw placed on Karl’s leg.
‘Starbuck,’ Karl cried, but whether from fright or pain, Mark couldn’t be sure. Sensory sensitivity meant Karl just didn’t feel pain the same way other people did.
‘Starbuck,’ Karl repeated. ‘Best friend.’ He held out a hand, Starbuck nuzzled it, and that’s when Mark knew — there had been a major breakthrough. He’d wondered whether Karl might be benefiting from the tactile stimulation offered by the dog. Now, he was sure.
His son was gaining comfort from the dog. Expressing emotion.
‘Best friend.’ Mark swallowed back his own overwhelming emotion and agreed wholeheartedly. ‘Come on, Starbuck,’ he said, easing Karl into his arms. ‘Let’s sit on the sofa where it’s more comfy, shall we?’
‘Yes,’ said Karl in a small voice.
Mark hadn’t thought it possible to love his son more.
But he did, right then.
The VIDEO! Take a peek!
A new REVIEW snippet:
Somebody to Love didn’t just focus on the relationship between Donna and Mark – outside of the romance, my favourite part of the book was definitely the relationship
between Mark’s autistic son Karl and his assistance dog Starbuck. This was written stunningly and it was so moving. Sheryl doesn’t force the autism aspect of this book on us and it isn’t about teaching us everything about the condition either. More, she perfectly involves this is the story and shows us the real impact autism can have on Karl and his family’s life. No exaggerations, just beautiful, sensitive writing and seeing Karl’s progression throughout this book was a joy to read.
From: Reviewed the Book ~ Thank you!
And thank you for allowing me to share a little bit about Somebody to Love. You can find out more about the book here and do take a browse around my website if you would like details about any of my other books.
Meanwhile, keep safe everyone!
Lots of love,