Autistic Admiration for Animals

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my dogs April and Scout in our old house at Christmas Time

Continuing my constant blogging on discovering my Au-some nature, I wanted to explore the exciting that autistics (and adhders too) appear to have a greater and deeper connection with animals. Especially since I saw my son really take to an online game within seconds of where you can care and feed an animal. He’s 3, has been very involved in caring for our pets (dogs and rabbits), and here he is having a virtual one (actually two–he won enough “tickets” to adopt a black little chick along with his grey kitten) of his own. Also, he has tried to learn communicating like our dog, which has been both amazing and adorable.

My love of animals started when I was little. I wish I could explain but I feel because I had a dog, I was connected to dogs as my family from day one. Or at least from my earliest memory. I have several pictures of our family dog “Lucky” (the black lab with the white spot) and me playing (or hiding from the mischeif we got into) and actually a few photos of me trying to interact with neighbors’ dogs. As I grew older, neighbors and friends asked me to pet sit for them, including watching little and big dogs, cats (i hate liter boxes with a passion) and even hamsters and birds. In high school, I adopted a large white rabbit from a neighbor because I wanted a pet and before I graduated, I managed to give him to a preschool to keep as a pet of their own. When I graduated college in 2005– I made it my sole goal (kinda probably a hyper focus really) to adopt a dog from the local shelter. My first dog, April, was the one I put down in February… living to be 14.5 years old. I also have adopted hamsters, another rabbit, rats (I adore rats) and another dog Scout (my kiddo’s best friend really.)

Having begun my interactions with autistic adults online, I have discovered I am not alone in my love for animals. I am part of a group where someone’s own beliefs follow the trail and path of wolves. I know SEVERAL autistic who love cats (don’t get me wrong, i probably act like a cat more than a dog but i just LOVE dogs.) Agony Autie (autism advocate) just adopted two rats and has worked up a whole beautiful caring system for them including different environments and places to learn to feel safe and cared for (did i mention i love rats!?). It’s beautiful. While I haven’t read anything by her, one of the more famous autistics ia Temple Grandin, who has several books on the deep connections humans and animals can form ( she works with horses and dogs specifically I believe.)

I wonder if if having a different type of brain allows for this inner connection with animals. As autistics, we are typically more aware of the nuances , the little things. So we notice when pets are off balance, when they are communicating something atypical of humans. And considering several of us love animals and can hyper focus on learning things about them, especially if we desire to care for them as our own, we take this on very seriously.

If you’re autistic, what animals do you love? Do you have pets? If you’re non-autistic, have you seen this too? Tell me in the comments!

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