All Dogs have ADHD

It’s freezing here in the D.C. metro area! Hopefully, this is post you can cuddle up to.  It’s about our brand new dog, Enzo.



Birthday Boy

My son turned 11 yesterday!  What??? I can’t believe I’ve been a mom for that long.  If you’re an ADHD parent you know, every day is a journey.  This year has been one of the tougher ones, for us.  My son has a traditional, lecture-style teacher for 5th grade and the learning is drudgery for him.  We hope a wagging tail to greet him each afternoon might improve the daily struggle.


New Family Member


I’ve been actively looking for a dog since last year to round out our family. Here are the obvious reasons:



1) Dogs teach responsibility.


2) Dogs are great for improving mental health (just petting one can calm you down).


3) Dogs keep you grounded.


4) “All dogs have ADHD” means a dog should fit into our family, perfectly! (If you want a copy of the book, email me at and I will send it to the first 3 readers who contact me.)  It’s a great way for younger ones to learn about the condition.

Baxter and Ruby

About 3 years ago we started looking for rescue animals and acquired 2 dogs that didn’t work out.  One was older and kept nipping at my 18-month old (we placed him with an single lady who just loves him.  They’re affectionately called “Bax and Barb.”).


The second was a “shared” dog but I had a brand new baby and little Ruby was a barker.  She woke up the baby one too many times (remember the Marley and Me argument over the dog?) so we found a better home for her.


I knew this third dog was my last chance.  If we got rid of another one, my eldest might lose all faith.  He wanted a dog so much. Now that the 2-year-old is potty trained, the time has come.

Timing is everything




Two weeks ago we had the toughest 504 meeting I have ever attended.  It was sad for me.  I realized my son had made NO PROGRESS in a full year on his reading and math levels.  Also, he’s been weepy, defiant and spending more time with the principal than he should.  I walked out feeling dejected and more resigned than ever to pursue homeschool for next year.


It was also our wedding anniversary so my husband and I headed to lunch to “celebrate.”  Bring on the margaritas after that doozy of a meeting.


The day before I had reached out to a woman who was moving and couldn’t keep her family dog.  Right as I walked out of the meeting, I received this picture:



Feeling like it was fate, I immediately asked to visit her and Enzo with my two little ones.  We met up the next day and it was a seamless match.  Three days later he came to our house for a one week “visit.”  By the time my son’s birthday arrived, Enzo became the best gift ever.


Our Perfect Match



Here are some of the ways Enzo has improved our life:

1) My son gets up earlier to walk him and feeds him each morning.


2) Everyone is eager to come home and see Enzo.


3) We’re all spending more time outdoors (even ended up on the local news).


4) The children are learning how to interact with an animal family member.  The younger ones are learning to be gentle.  We all enjoy the little moments of life, moments we may have missed before.  Whether on a hike, out for a walk, or just petting Enzo, we’re all more present!




It’s not perfect.  Enzo growls at L-she’s too rough, at times.  B complains about the AM walks on Saturdays and Enzo is an escape artist who slipped out of the gate one early morning.  But, all in all, he’s the best addition to our family since my third child.  As my 4-year-old son said at dinner last night, “Thank you, God for our smart and furry Enzo who I love so much.”  Couldn’t have said it better.  Thank you universe.






Published by Family ADDventures

Nicole Santiago is a learning specialist, student advocate, and founder of Family ADDventures. As a specialist, she assesses and teaches clients (adults and adolescents) to manage and grow their executive functioning skills which include emotional regulation, task initiation, and time management. As an advocate (IEP coach), she is a member of COPAA and ensures inclusive (special) education students receive the most appropriate educational services possible. She often collaborates with OT's, SLP's and neuropsychologists all in the name of student improvement and success. Her practice is located in San Antonio, TX, and everywhere (virtually). The author grew up an army brat and spends time with her three ND children and husband in Puerto Rico whenever possible. She writes about mental health, parenting, education, and entrepreneurship on her blog:

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