Day 13 Gratitude Post:
It is time for my 2011 weekly Project Gratitude post. Information about Project Gratitude can be found at:
You all had such kind things to say after my posts with my pets pictures, and I truly am grateful for all the animals that have shared my life and for a dad who allowed me to have animals growing up.
First a disclaimer, today’s talk is strictly my opinion based on my experience with my pets and with random reading on the subject, but yes I do believe a pet can be a good thing for those on the spectrum or really for anyone.
The reason I believe a pet can be a good thing is because over my lifetime I have talked more to my animals than I talk to some people and believe me when I say I do talk. Remember I grew up in a rural area, so while I did spend time at my friend’s house on weekends, if I got upset about something during the week I frequently went for a walk in our pasture. When I happened to see my horses on this walk I stopped to pet them and somehow even without words they seemed to understand that I was upset about something. They were there for me with a nudge of their nose to tell me it was going to be okay.
Or, if I stayed in the house, my dogs would come up to me to make sure I was okay. When I was in the yard, my cats were there. Even our wandering Tom Cat seemed to understand. My children have that relationship with our dogs as well.
That is why in a world where those on the autism spectrum can feel so misunderstood I think having a pet can be a wonderful thing. I know there are many who believe in “horse therapy,” and if that is you I say great, but I know not everyone is comfortable with horses. I guess what I am trying to say is, try to find a pet that your child is comfortable with if you do decide to get a pet. Hopefully, you can also find one that fits your life style as obviously some pets need more attention than others. I also know that pets aren’t for everyone, and if they aren’t for you and your family maybe you can find a substitute calming influence like music or whatever works for your child and your family.
Do you have pets or did you have them growing up? What is your opinion on the value of pets for those on the spectrum? I eagerly await your responses.