Here's a funny, wonderful book from Monica Holloway, author of "Driving with Dead People."
When her three-year-old son Wills is diagnosed with high-functioning autism, Holloway struggles to help him adjust.
She copes with guilt and worry with impulse buys at the pet store. Soon the house fills up with a rabbit named Ruby, Richard the turtle, lots of tropical fish and several hamsters.
Then came Cowboy. Just when Wills enters mainstream kindergarten, overwhelmed with daily obstacles of public restrooms, interaction with his peers, and the soon-to-be-dreaded annual sing-a-long, the promise of a puppy seems to help.
Cowboy comes at Christmas - a fat, happy energetic Golden Retriever - and changes everything. In effect, she's like an accidental service animal, and slowly draws him into the world. At school she gives him something to talk about. After school, she's the center of Wills' first play dates. She's the reason Wills finally goes Trick-or-Treating as he resigns himself to the fact that she wants to go. Through therapy, testing and doctors' appointments, Wills has Cowboy, his "sister," to lean on.