Cowboy and Wills by Monica Holloway
Age level: 9th – Adult
Wills Holloway was only three years old when he was first diagnosed with Severe High Autism. Mother Monica, did her best to help her son navigate his way through the intricacies of autism and the real world. Before turning to doctors, psychologists and other specialists to help Wills transition, Monica would stop by a local pet store to purchase small pets, (hamsters, turtles, hermit crabs). Each animal, in its own small way, helped draw Wills out of his shell and overcome very small battles in his life. It wasn’t until Cowboy, the lovable puppy golden retriever was introduced to their lives, that Wills really began to evolve from an introverted boy with autism, to a young child, playing and laughing with friends. Small experiences, such as saying a name aloud, or taking a bath, were battlegrounds for the Holloway family, but Cowboy was a friendly beacon helping bring Wills into a seemingly normal life. Wills would transfer his fears and doubts onto Cowboy, and in turn, help her overcome a fear of hiking, or a fear of swimming or whatever else Wills was fearing at the moment. This form of projection helped Wills feel in control of his life. As therapeutic as Cowboy was for Wills, he still had a full time aide as a school for kindergarten and first grade, a therapist he saw twice a week, an occupational therapist once a week to help him with his motor skills and a specialist trying to diagnose Wills autism and issue a final report. With all the pets the family has collected over the years and two incredibly loving and devoted parents, and Wills has one of the strongest and well built support systems I’ve ever encountered. Although his mother kept discussing how much of a financial strain the therapy and vet bills put on their family, I never got the sense that it was that much of an issue. Monica is a stay at home mother and writer, and her husband Michael is a writer for a sitcom in Los Angeles.
This is still a very touching story about a boy and his dog and his struggle to overcome his autism and interact normally with kids his own age and other people in his life.Cowboy and Wills: A Love Story
by Monica Holloway Simon & Schuster, 2009 ISBN 1416595038 276 pages Source: Review