A while back I met someone who shared a startling opinion with me. This person felt that people who gave love to pets could not forge bonds with other humans. This person thought that if you love an animal, you have no love to give to a person.
To the contrary, science has proven that pet people form stronger bonds with other people. But we don’t need science to tell us that we have enough love to give to all beings and our pets have taught us among many other things, to have empathy towards all creatures, 2-legged and 4-legged.
The human/animal bond is thousands of years old, originating probably with a mutual need for food and shelter. Dogs and cats have been discovered buried with their humans in ancient burial sites which shows the value people placed upon their pets.
The unique bond we have with our pets grew in strength as animals were domesticated over the years. In recent times, during disasters such as hurricanes, many people refused to leave their pets behind, risking their own lives remaining with them. There are countless stories of pets disregarding their own safety to save their owners from tragic situations. Therapy and service animals have performed incredible feats helping people in need.
Research has shown that pet owners and people who work with animals have stronger connections to and empathy for family, friends, even strangers.
Our pets are a link to other people, encouraging social interaction and forming lasting friendships. How often have conversations with people met on the street begun with “what a sweet dog.”
Pets have improved the health of their owners, lowering blood pressure, increasing exercise, improving moods, speeding recovery after traumas and more. The benefits of living with a pet for both adults and children are many, among them teaching responsibility, treating all living creatures kindly, loyalty and so on.
Because we are happier and healthier living with animals, we share our good fortune and our good feelings with others, pet people and non-pet people alike.