… Ok well maybe that is not exactly true. I like people, but more from a distance. It is hard to explain. People I don’t know make me anxious, mostly because I have trouble understanding them.
I was raised around animals (and people). Animals have always been easy to read. They speak with their entire bodies and always tell the truth. People (at least from my perspective) tend to be more cryptic.
Being around people, even people that I know and enjoy spending time with, give me anxiety. I need alone time so I can be away from people but I NEVER need alone time from my dog.
Being around animals is relaxing, perhaps because I don’t have to worry about communicating with them verbally. It is well documented that having animals in your life is good for your health.
Dog training was one of my childhood obsessions. I took classes, read books, and worked with my dog for hours. My dog was my best friend growing up. He was always there for me and never lied. We loved and respected each other.
Before I got my first dog, I thought I was broken, disconnected, and incapable of love. Having a dog around helped me to connect with the world and brought me out of my shell.
I’ve always felt a deep connection with animals, perhaps that is because people on the spectrum tend to be visual and pattern thinkers that thrive on positive reinforcement (just like dogs). Heck, Applied Behavior Analysis, used to teach Autistic children, is almost a perfect mirror of the dog training methods I learned growing up.
PLEASE do not misunderstand me, I in NO way mean that as a bad thing. I LOVE animals and am grateful that I can connect with them in ways that NT’s can’t.
Personally, I think animals are very wise in many ways that humans can not understand due to their inability to communicate verbally. I would not at all be offended if somebody called me “dog brain”.
Maybe I don’t really like animals more than people, despite my social anxiety and other “typical” AS issues. I am a very loving and compassionate person who is often misunderstood, but I do care a lot. People are just hard for me to handle, no matter how much I like them.
Spending time with animals relaxes me and brings me peace. Is it really that hard to understand why if given the choice to hang out with critters over people, I will take the situation that leaves me calm over the one that stresses me out?