Pets Bring Us Together – A Great Lesson from an Autistic Girl
By Coleen Ellis, founder of the Two Hearts Pet Loss Center and writer for Pets Best, a pet insurance agency.
I know the old cliché is really very true: birds of a feather flock together. Or, maybe better said, people who are alike can relate to others like them! Whichever way, I love the organic raw truthfulness of the nature of the comment.
When others find out that I’m in the pet industry, in particular as a pet loss professional and dealing with the very intimate topic of the death of these amazing pets that we love, I hear the most incredible stories. Stories from the heart, stories that speak of such love and innocence. Stories like this from a colleague of mine in the death-care profession, Faye Bonini.
Here’s Faye’s story:
My daughter Allison has some special needs (autism spectrum) and can be repetitive in her conversation. When she meets someone (waitress, cashier, person sitting near us in a restaurant), she always (and I mean always!) asks: Do you have a dog?
Allison has found this to be a great intro-statement, because everyone either has a dog or has had a dog – and everyone loves to talk about their dog. They show her pictures and sometimes even give her a picture of their dog. People absolutely light up when they tell her about their pet.
When I’ve enjoyed this most is when it’s a senior…perhaps sitting alone at a restaurant or standing next to us in a store. It is heartwarming to see the spark in their eyes when they talk about their pet – perhaps a pet who died many years ago. It brightens their day to have someone take the time to talk to them – and allow them to talk about their beloved pet.
Interestingly, Allison is pretty good at identifying cat owners, and sometimes she asks, Do you have a cat? Amazing, but they always do!
Ah, the love and the innocence of a simple question. And, the absolute delight when others get to share their story with such an amazing person as Allison.
Thanks, Faye. And tell Allison thanks as well. I look forward to the day that I, too, get to tell her MY stories, about Blackie, Buddy, and Snobal from days long ago to my today world of Mico, Ellie, Harry, and Rudy-Poo.