My Miniature Pinscher Benji values attention even more than food. If I dare say hi to my Mom’s parrot Max, he comes padding into the room and barks to deflect my attention. Sometimes he brings in his chew rope to divert my unfaithful ways and focus on him only. He doesn’t want to be treated second best…
As a young puppy he’d always be waiting patiently at the gate when I went off for the day. We went for long walks up in the hills above the city: this tiny little fellow tagging tenaciously behind me among the tangle of plants and rocks.
As I first saw him behind a bar (that is, living at the back of a run-down house used as a redneck bar and he came walking towards me through the frosty grass: a rat-sized little fellow no older than five weeks) he became fearless, feisty and independent. I didn’t have any resources to speak of but it just seemed we were meant to be together. Dogs don’t need a contract to formalize a friendship for life, nor so they need to friend you on Facebook.
This isn’t to say that Benji turns his nose down at good food. He is rather a fussy eater but never says no to anything containing meat. But feeling loved is highest on his list of priorities. So many people forget this most basic of all needs.
It was the great lawyer and orator George Graham Vest who in 1869 made an impassioned plea for justice to be served in the trial of Old Drum. In his speech, which is too long to quote here he stated among many other things that a dog was the best friend a man could have.
A sheep farmer had found Old Drum on his property and summarily shot him. Old Drum’s owner took him to court. Vest declared that he would win the case or apologize to every dog in Missouri. His eloquent and emotion laden speech moved the jury to award the maximum compensation the law permitted at the time.
People also crave love and attention more than anything else. Even loners get lonely. They start arguments with themselves, which can split their personalities. Some of us have debates with the other inhabitants of the Wrong Island in order to come to a decision. As indecision is a major trait of an Aspie, these internal debates can go on indefinitely!
Most folk thrive on attention. Even if it’s just the attention they get from their partner, husband or wife everyone needs to feel loved and appreciated. To some folk, notoriety is their claim to fame and they’re proud of it! Some feed shamelessly on the undivided devotion of their followers and even the vitriol of their foes!
Loneliness can be truly devastating to one’s state of mind. There’s a great difference between choosing to be alone when you want to, and being in a state of desperate loneliness.
Many Aspies feel lonely and are unable to bond with others as they would like to. Sometimes we have to make certain changes to our own thinking pattern before we can reach out and expect others to. You have to love and appreciate yourself before you can expect others to, as no-one wants to feel their positive energy vacuumed from their soul every time they interact.
Depression is a very real condition and many people on the spectrum have an ongoing battle with it. It needs a holistic solution because medication doesn’t help in all cases. Professional guidance is the best solution but when this isn’t possible, at least the care and love of friends, both in real life and online, can sustain the person who is in need for a reason to soldier on.
Bonding with others, even if we’ve never met them face to face but only through a computer screen and a small avatar, can be very rewarding. I feel I know many folk in a number of places throughout the world, better than many people I see regularly.
As John Donne says, no man is an island. After all, if even the universe is connected by what in layman’s terms is described as the fabric of the cosmos, how much more is all life on earth connected? We humans share 84% of our DNA with dogs, and 96.9% with orangutans.