[Note: Today, I’m taking a break from writing about autism twin studies in order to do some more reading. The most recent autism twin study that I am aware of is the 2011 study by Hallmayer et al., which showed that environmental factors contribute more to autism risk than genetic factors. This is an important matter to study carefully.]


I never had a pet when I was a child. I don’t even know if I wanted to have one. I liked dogs. I could just imagine being cuddled all I wanted, and a dog would always want to see me. They were man’s best friend. Mom made it clear that she did not think my younger brother or I would take care of one and that she would end up doing all the work. Pets are a lot of trouble. Besides, we had Mike instead.

Mike had pets for a little while. Mom and Dad used to get these silver dollar-sized turtles one after another. They never lasted long at our house. Mike had a habit of slapping his head and biting his hand really hard. I never saw him do it, but I could imagine a turtle in his jaws instead of his hand. If he did bite one, I don’t think he did it to be mean. To him, it probably seemed like a big, juicy, slimy cookie. Mike loved to eat.

Did Mom and Dad get him a turtles so he could have a friend? I would think that a warm-blooded animal would be a better choice. But with Michael, it would probably either bite him back or run away. How fast is a turtle anyway? The ones my parents got weren’t fast enough.

We saw a two-headed turtle once at the Staten Island Zoo once, while visiting Michael at Willowbrook. I was glad that it was behind glass so Mike couldn’t hurt it. Mom said it would probably die soon because those kind of freaks of nature usually didn’t live that long.

4 thoughts on “Pets

  1. I have had to be very careful with pets. Of course there are lots of benefits to having a pet and depending on the pet, various amounts of hard work. Mostly cleaning up poo. As someone who has had to clean up a LOT of poo (as I’m sure your mother did) then I can tell you with some assurance, that the thought of any additional burden in the poo department should be avoided at all costs! My boy is very keen on pulling the hair of dogs and cats (and any other hairy animal), he his extremely keen to give them a thorough and close examination of their mouth & nose. I dread the day he somehow grabs onto the wrong dog. However, of course a trained autism assistance dog is an amazing friend and I am considering this for some point in the future, when I can bear to deal with the additional cleaning duties!

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