Autism and animals

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I have always believed that animals have an ability to reach out to those that need them in a way that people can’t. They have a unlimited amount of love  and an acceptance that society doesn’t offer, to anyone who may be a little bit different.
I have surrounded my daughter with pets her whole life. Through them I have watched her grow in confidence and for them, she has made herself face her problems with communication to get them what they need.
Her greatest success has been with her beloved pony Angel. Time and time again I’ve watched the bond between them and blessed the wonderful man who brought her in to our lives. Angel hadn’t had the best of starts in live. She was badly trained and frightened of almost everything. Right from the beginning my daughter was determined to help her.
She understands that Angel can only be confident if she is confident because she trusts her to tell her things are safe. Each and every day my daughter faces new challenges head on so that Angel can learn the things that she needs. It’s not always plane sailing and we have a lot of good and bad days but they have come miles on their journey together.
My daughter has willingly faced being trampled to rescue Angel from a fire and faced down horse theives when they wanted to steal her. Which was a miracle for someone who can’t speak to strangers. Love for her pony overcomes everything.
To every parent of an autistic child I’d say give them a pet. Something they can hold and love. A friend to face the frightening world with. As soon as you see the difference it can make, you’ll never regret it.

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4 thoughts on “Autism and animals

  1. The relationship between animals and their loving humans seems to reflect the relationship between a person’s conscious mind and her/his subconscious mind. I see the subconscious mind as needing a confident master in the conscious arena the same way your daughter’s pony needs your daughter to be a confident leader. I never had a dog until I was in my 50’s. Finally I was allowed (by my wife) to get one. I began watching “The Dog Whisperer” on TV and recognizing that a dog’s problems often stem from having to assume the stress of a leadership position in a human family. This heavy responsibility seems to cause doggie neuroses and misbehavior. When the human “pack members” learn to act like confident, caring leaders, the dog’s problems seem to go away with a little ongoing work. I wish I had recognized my kids’ emotional/ psychological need for this kind of leadership when they were little. I was stuck in the model of being my natural honest self with them, which involved sharing my doubts and insecurities about things and avoiding the confident-leader attitude they needed to see in me. To me, strong leaders seemed like selfish people. I was a fundamentalist Christian at the time and had totally internalized the parts of scripture that seemed to indicate that God wanted true humility out of me. To my ignorant mind, true humility meant an absence of self-confidence, a refusal to stand up for myself (because Jesus didn’t at the cross), and the emotional embracing of my unworthiness. Huge mistake. I wish I could have known then what I know now about life. It sounds like your daughter is learning this vital lesson at a young age. I think it’s fantastic! I wish my children had been allowed to have pets (other than lizards) when they were growing up.

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    1. I completely agree with your comments. When I’m not writing or blogging I teach equine facilitation which is all to do with body language, confidence building and behaviour modification. But it’s never too late to share with your family the things you’ve learned. I hope you’re having a great time with your dog. I have three rescues so its never quiet round here. 🙂

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      1. Equine facilitation sounds wonderful. I took a few “Horsemanship” classes (as they were called) in college and have always enjoyed horses. I even owned one for a while. Good for you for rescuing three dogs! That takes commitment, I bet. And courageous love.

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