Why are some People more comfortable around animals?

There’s an interesting discussion going on, on-line, in my university course right now. One of the students asked why some people like non-human animals more than they do members of their own species. There are some extremely interesting comments posted to that question, especially about animals being ‘innocents’ rather than moral agents who can choose to be cruel.

The question, and other potential answers, reminded me of an essay I wrote in Dog is My Co-Pilot, titled “Love is Never Having to Say Anything at All.” In it I argue that one of the reasons we love dogs so much is that, well, because they can’t talk. As I write in the essay: “Words may be wonderful things, but they carry weight with them, and there’s a great lightness of being when they are discarded.” Of course, this appliesall to animals, not just dogs.

Surely there are many other reasons that so many of us are especially comfortable around animals, whether it is dogs or members of another species: so much research attests to the lack of social anxiety that is normal in human-human interactions being absent in the presence of another species (heart rate decreases in the presence of non-human animal, even fish; cortisol decreases while petting a dog (but may increase in the dog!) etc etc. But I’m curious–how many of you feel especially comfortable around animals compared to people? How many feel more comfortable around animals than around people, even friendly, familiar ones? And if so, why do YOU think that might be true?

Meanwhile, back at the farm, it was 9 below this morning, and windy. You’d think we’d all be used to the cold by now, but it felt especially difficult to me last night when I fed the lactating ewes for the last time around 9:30 pm. The cold requires a lot of energy from the sheep, even though they are masters at keeping themselves warm.  Snickers and Truffles, the ewes with lambs, are starting to lose weight, no doubt in part because it takes so much energy for them to stay warm. But most ewes lose weight while they lactate: their lambs begin to put an incredible amount of nutritional pressure on them, so I’m giving the ewes ridiculous quantities of alfalfa hay along with supplemental corn, oats and a protein pellet. I wish they could be eating grass, but that’s a long way off. However, it’s supposed to go into the 40′s by Friday. I can’t imagine.  Here’s what it looks like now:

Patricia McConnell\'s farm

And just for contrast, here’s another absurdly colorful and ridiculously structured orchid from the orchid show last weekend–I think I’ll look at this photo every day after reading bad news, yet again, about our economy. You have to admit, isn’t this just the most joyfully amazing thing?

Comments

  1. Kathy Blough says

    Count me as one person who is more comfortable around dogs than people. I don’t know why. Relief from the pressure of conversation, as you suggest, could be a reason. Also, perhaps, because dogs are genuine; what you see is what you get. And dogs are not judgmental – I never worry about what my dogs think about me for doing some stupid thing.

    The “moral agents who can choose to be cruel” argument doesn’t work for me. I know some wonderful people who would never, intentionally, do a single cruel thing. But I still would rather be with my dogs!

  2. says

    The first thing that comes to mind for me is that animals don’t lie. They don’t pretend to like you, they either do or they don’t. There is nothing false about them (except for when they’re pretending that they never get fed, like my Cockers do). They don’t disappoint. They don’t forget special occasions because every day with us is treated like a special occasion by them. Other than when they die, they don’t break our hearts.

    I have some very dear friends that I wouldn’t trade for the world. But my dogs are the ones I turn to for comfort and companionship. Whatever I want to do, the dogs are willing to accomodate me. I want to read? As long as 3 Cockers fit in the chair with me, they’ll sit with me all day long. I want to play? Bring it on! I’m feeling sick? They will surround me in bed (or on the couch) to ensure I’m okay.

    Even when I’m cranky and crabby, the dogs wag their tails and smile. Even if I yelled at them 5 minutes ago, they come running, eyes full of love. Even if everybody else thinks I’m a witch, the dogs never do.

    I think some people feel like they need MORE. Words, give and take, whatever. And those people, who crave more, may not be as comfortable with animals. This is ironic, since they give everything. But non-animal people just don’t get that.

  3. kim g says

    i do feel more comfortable around my dogs than people. 1 they dont judge me. 2. they need me. 3. they keep me warm at night 4 always willing to give hugs and kisses and happy to see me 5. they make me get out and exercise with them and walk with them and that always draws people to me which forces me to talk with neighbors and strangers and they make them feel good too, all 6 dogs i love them dearly.

  4. says

    Thank you for the lovely snowy photo. We have no snow here just cold temperatures (very cold for us at 27) Yes, the orchid is gorgeous and what a treat for winter. My best to all the critters.

  5. Carolyn says

    I know that I always feel more comfortable around animals, mainly because I find them so much easier to read than humans. They don’t notice verbal gaffes or bad hair and seem happier when you’re covered in their hair/feathers and smell like a barn. I was a therapeutic horseback riding instructor for a while and got to see firsthand how people who couldn’t (or wouldn’t) respond to human interaction became fast friends with a pony, goat, dog, or cat.

    The bigger mystery to me is how people can say that they don’t like animals and don’t want to be near them at all. At my last job, the head of the company and his wife (also at the same company) would have no trouble telling you that companion animals were just annoying and a source of dirt and messes in the house. They even had three boys, and I was always tempted to tell them that most pets would be a whole lot cleaner than any of their human children!

  6. says

    Wow. This is a question I’ve pondered my entire life. As long as I can remember being alive (some where around 2-3 years old), I had an affinity to animals. I had pet everythings…spiders, crayfish, catepillars, bunnies, turtles, dogs, cats. They all touched a special place in me. While my friends were off playing doctor/nurse, I was playing veterinarian. The many dolls given to me, all remained untouched in the closet in their original packaging. As a young adult, whenever hearing or reading of a car accident where people and animals were involved, it was only the animals that brought tears and concern to my heart. I’ve never been drawn to human babies or had any of my own, but if there’s a dog or a cat someone’s home, I’m on the floor winning it over. It’s just what everything in my body wants to do. At times, I’ve felt guilty about my over the top compassion for animals and seeming lack there of for people, but I’ve come to realize, it’s just who I am even though I can’t explain why.

    If these memories weren’t so vivid and so distinctly different from my peers since the time I can remember, I would say it had to do with many of the points you made in your post. The theories your colleagues put forward, however, can’t fully explain why at age 3, a stuffed animal had overwhelming value and a doll had none. Why a crayfish would touch my heart but a baby seemed to be simply an object with moving parts. I’ve always thought there had to be a more primitive explanation to the unstoppable emotions at play for those of us with this “condition” seemingly from birth.

    It all finally made sense to me when I read the last chapter of Jean Donaldson’s book “Oh, Behave!” entitled “Dog Moms and Other Evoluntionary Misfires”. She suggests that people like me may experience the same suite of brain chemicals (oxytocin, vasopressin, dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrin) that mothers experience when nuturing their babies. She suggests that, from a gene’s point of view, directing resources at puppies over a baby is a collosal misfire. She also suggests that this neurochemistry mutation may get switched on in only certain individuals. She further adds that she will be pondering this hypothesis on the way to her dog’s birthday party the next day…suggesting her genes may be just as mutated as the rest of ours.

    While I don’t know if Jean, or the resources she references, are right or wrong about this, I do know that when I read her possible explanation it was like the sea parted and everything made sense. It was like somebody finally “got me”.

    So, I might well be a genetic mutation…it’s the only way I can explain my often irrational attention to the non-human portion of the animal kingdom. It’s not that I don’t love my many friends and family, I love them very much. It’s just that they don’t cause the same raw and overwhelming swell of emotions that my dog does. I guess my gene pool will just have to accept that it got the short end of the stick (i.e. no pro-creating for me)…but that’s perfectly ok by me as long as I there are enough animals on this planet for all of us mutants to share.

  7. says

    we too have bitter cold again tonight. The dogs went out and came right back in. The pellet stove cannot keep up with this kind of cold so the furnace kicks on too. Brrrrr.

    Can sheep have beet pulp? If so, you might try one bag, I give it to all of our horses. The gelding and my mare are air ferns but Courts mare is not. It’s the only feed I found that will keep weight up to where it should be, not wreck the calcium/phosphorus balance and does not make the animals “hot” to handle. It also adds water to their diet and I imagine that would be a bonus for nursing mothers too.

    I make my beet pulp up with equal amounts of water and let it sit in the heated office at the barn for 2-3 hours, then it’s soft and fluffy.

  8. Kerry L. says

    Good morning, One of the reasons I find being with my animals so comfortable is that they have no expectations of me. The needs they have are few, simple and reasonable; good food, water, medical care, exercise, companionship and playtime, and even if I’m unable to meet a need (like outside exercise when the temperature is -20), they don’t hold a grudge. On the other hand, the expectations that my housemates, friends, employers, co-workers, etc., have of me are often complicated, hidden and sometimes even unreasonable. The animals is my life have no hidden agendas. Kerry

  9. says

    I agree with Kerry – animals have no expectations, no hidden agendas! You sometimes don’t know what other humans are thinking because they are such good actors! No acting in the animal world (well probably 99%).
    Love the orchid photo. My first thought was – look at those colorful beetles climbing up that branch! Guess if I was a wild animal looking for something tasty to eat, I might pass on those scary beetles!
    Keli

  10. says

    I have to say my experience has been very similar to Jennifer’s. Even when I was a little girl, I liked toy animals best, not dolls. Babies evoke no big emotional response or interest from me — something that makes me feel bad sometimes.

    But when I see an animal, I’m filled with affection and interest in them. I’ve never been a very talkative or gregarious person, but with other dog owners or towards the animals themselves I can blab for hours. I just feel more at ease with them, and don’t have to worry about making social faux pas or embarassing myself around them.

  11. ABandMM says

    “Dog Moms and other Evolutionary misfires”. The summary of that chapter hit very close to home and I now have another book to put on my reading list. Thanks Jennifer :).

    Yes, count me in among the humans that are more comfortable being around dogs. I never have been a social person (I hate large gatherings) and am very introverted. I grew up around dogs and guinea pigs and never had the opportunity to interact (other than the occasional petting zoo) with other animals. I really enjoy the companionship of dogs, especially how happy they are to see you when you get home. Even if they have raided the trash (which I have a feeling happened today because I forgot to secure it on the way out), I’m just so happy to be able to get a big “dog hug” (and a good up/down sniffing over!).

    I love the unconditional love they have for you. Both my dogs have been adopted from animal shelters and indicate that if you treat an animal humanely and with love they will we respond positively to that. Maybe it is their “child-like” innocence that attracts me. Maybe it is their ability to “forgive” and be able to still give love and affection even when they have been living on the streets, in/out of animal shelters or tied to a fence.

    Although I am an introvert, I do have a strong desire to “nurture” and I guess dogs and GPs fill that role in my life. I know they need a safe place to live, good nutrition and vet care, love and exercise. The latter has been especially helpful to me in that it really does force me to go out and explore new opportunities and activities. I have moved around quite a bit in my life and new places are less intimidating if you are checking them out with your loyal dog at your side rather than by yourself. Often times my dogs have been the “ice breaker’ that have enabled me to meet new people, be it in the neighborhood, or at “dog school”.

    Then again the tacit support they give you when everything in your life seems upside down, confusing and you have not clue what to do next is absolutely priceless. I just hope they feel something remotely similar towards me (us).

  12. says

    I’ve always loved animals best for my entire life. Maybe it’s because they don’t judge. They don’t care what you look like, or what kind of job you have. They are just happy to see you everytime you walk through the door – no questions asked.

  13. says

    I think Jennifer said what I feel really well. I feel nothing when I see a baby and honestly prefer not to touch them until they’re about 2 years old and then they’re fun to play with kind of in the same way that dogs are – you can let loose with them and they’ll enjoy it as much as you do and won’t tell you how undignified you look in the process. I do find human behavior interesting though.

    I cannot walk past a puppy or kitten without asking if I can say hi. The draw is just tremendous.

    I knew when I was a child that I didn’t want children and I remember asking my mom when I was 16 if I could get my tubes tied and she told me, rightly, that I was too young to make that decision. I haven’t wavered from that decision in the 27 years since then. On the other hand, a life without animals for companionship would be terribly lonely.

    I can list my rational reasons for liking animals, but it goes far deeper than that for me. I have 4 cats and 2 dogs and I virtually always have at least 3 of them in whatever room I’m in, however briefly. It’s heaven.

  14. Becky says

    Hmm, very interesting discussion. I have two dogs and have had dogs now for the last 24 years. I love animals, but have a very special place in my heart for dogs. After my husband and I got married we got a golden retriever pup. I loved that dog so much that when I got pregnant with my first child I said to a friend (who already had kids) that I was worried that I wouldn’t love my baby as much as I did my dog. She nearly had a fit and told me not to be ridiculous. Well, she was right to an extent. When my baby was born I loved him and my wonderful puppy went back to being a dog. I still loved him, but not like I did my son. There was a difference.

    However, now that my two children are pretty much grown, my dogs have regained their place and importance in my life. They’ve always been my buddies, but the kids came first. Now, once again they are my constant companions when I’m at home. They always want to go on adventures and they comfort me when I’m sad. They need me and appreciate everything I do for and with them. I don’t have an answer to why my dogs mean so much to me and why I often pick them over people to be with, but maybe a good part of it is they simply make me happy and their love is so unconditional.

  15. Jackie Elpers says

    My experience has been similar to Jennifer’s as well, although I have had a child and now have three grandchildren that I love dearly. The love for my human family is strong but different from my love for my cats and — especially — my dog. I too have wondered about this, and tend to attribute it to the same things other commenters have mentioned. I know I am strongly introverted, and do believe my difficulties with human interaction certainly contribute to the strength of my feelings for animals. Are there any strong extroverts who have the feelings described in these comments for animals??

  16. Rio says

    Part of it is the heaviness that modern industrial culture imparts to humans. Animals aren’t as burdened by it. Of course, most humans will disagree with this. I offer as evidence two points. 1. Native peoples who live closer to their traditional ways are much more cheerful and laugh more often than your average person. I know this from personal experience. 2. My friend who lives very simply in a cabin in the woods (going on two decades now) is the happiest person I know.

  17. says

    I think, for me, it’s the inherent lack of judgment that animals possess. My dog doesn’t care if I’m fat, if my hair is messy, if my teeth are crooked. She doesn’t care if I made a huge mistake at work or made a fool out of myself in front of friends. She won’t berate me for something I did a year or two or five ago. She’s just there, desperate for belly rubs and food.

    This, of course, ties into the fact that she cannot talk. If she could, if she possessed the ability to use language as humans do, she might very well development those very judgments and be as off-putting and worrying as some people are.

    Much of it is also tied into the aspect of touch. Human beings LOVE to touch, especially when they’ve had a rotten day or are feeling down. But you can’t always get that from another human being. Sometimes people don’t want to be touched or to touch. Sometimes you come home from a bad day and no one is there. But my dog is. She’s always there, at the door, with her tail going a mile a minute and her butt wiggling, her ears back and a big grin on her face. I can sit on the floor with her and pet her, run my fingers through her thick black fur, rub her belly or scratch behind her ears. She loves it, but I do too. And it always relaxes me if I’m tense. I think that sense of touch, of a sort of “being together” is important both for me AND for her.

  18. Kaiser Soze says

    I must admit that I’m on the side that also feels more comfortable around animals. They don’t care about what car you drive, how fat you are, etc. But most of all, because I don’t believe there are “evil” animals. They don’t have the crookedness that comes with humans. So, basically, a lack of judgment and a lack of the drive to hurt someone else just because.

    This reminds me of a joke a friend once told me… if you wanna know who loves you more, your wife or your dog, leave them both locked in the crate… a couple of hours later when you come back, who of them is happy to see you? :-)

  19. Sandy says

    Many of the comments have resonated with me – the lack of judgement and expectations animals have of us, the unconditional love they give us. And like most of the people who have commented I am mostly introverted, normally shy, usually awkward in social situations. And it works both ways

  20. Pat Moreno says

    It is very interesting and for sometime I have noticed that most of us in the “dog world” seem to like animals more than people. But I have no answer except possibly the dogs never reject us. They are always happy to see and be with us.

    Today I took our Halley to the vet and she does get a little excited. She was panting and I reached down and merely touched her to calm her. I could feel the calmness extending to me. Whatever it is, it is a very good feeling.

    Pat

  21. says

    The reason I am so comfortable around animals ? I can be myself and I am not judged for being myself. ;) It’s that simple.

    My mother died when I was very, very young. I was nine years old and found myself left behind with a working father, a key around my neck and the family dog, 50 fish, 25 greek turtles, 6 slider turtles, 2 iguanas, 2 parakeets and 1 hamster. They became my family at home and at the riding stable nearby I found happiness with the horses.
    Don’t get me wrong – I do love some people and would I be stranded on a desert island, I’d take Noah’s Ark and my favourite people with me. To quote a dear old friend of mine: “I love all animals and a few people”.

  22. says

    I sure feel that I am one of those people who would most likely choose to spend time with other animals above humans. However, everything is great in moderation I would like to add.

    I think my reasons for prefering to be around other animals is that I feel more relaxed, not judged, no pressure etc. In a sense I wouldn’t like to say that animals are simple, but humans certainly have a nack of complicating things. As far as I’ve understood, animals tend to strive for survival, hence hunting for food, sleeping to gain energy, keep warm and so on. Humans however have created a somewhat too complicated social environment for our own good.

    Hope this makes some sense

  23. says

    Jennifer wow someone like me.(I thought i was all alone) I was born with the ability to bond with animals that i have never had with people. I have never been able to explain this to anyone how I can watch crime shows and feel sadness for a person when I see things like Michael Vick their comes a rage that I almost can’t contain my intire life people have let me down and hurt me and abandon me but animals have never done this to me all they want is love, and kindness and that makes my heart grow like the grench’s heat did. its not that i would not help a person but I owe it to animals for if it was not for them I would have never known what love felt like

  24. Dena Norton says

    I’m another one who has always loved animals, especially dogs. I’m very social, and talk a lot. But I *am* an introvert. I need silence and alone time to recharge. But a dog or cat is good company during my alone time. I also love the smell of dogs. Much better than people, and without any stupid perfumes!

  25. Maggi Burtt says

    I am a balanced extrovert..love people and love being “alone”. My pets, Cracker my hound mix, and my two kitties, Vandal and Tagger expect food, brushing, petting and play..nothing more and nothing less. My human friend expect more…intellectual stimulation, emotional support, opinions, advice and more. There are times I am up to that and times where hanging out with Miss C in the park watching her romp in the snow is the simplest type of joy for me.

    I worked eight years on the front lines of a veterinary clinic, managing the clients and there myriad of issues: fear, disdain, grief, excitement, finances etc. I found great challenge in keeping the client’s pleased with the services and feeling like they count (which they did, we had FANTASTIC clients for the most part). But I burned out. I left that job and became a dogwalker/petsitter. Very little client interaction but LOTS of animal interaction. I loved the challenges in behaviour and safekeeping I had with that as well. Now, eight years later (eight seems to be the magic number for me) I am shifting into dog training and behaviour. A new balance between the human and the animals. I love the animals and I love the people.

    Back on topic here..lol. I think that our dogs (more so than other pets)can provide buffered social contact for the introverts of the world. Many loners still enjoy the dogpark for the “dog chat” where they get to talk comfortably with others with no other social pressures present. A dog gets them out into the world and gives them someone to comfortably give as much affection as they can handle.

    For people who are more extroverted but “busy” with work or family, the dogs can give some unpressured together time, fresh air and a break from the other things on their minds.

    I think that “non animal” people have simply never been exposed correctly to the benefits and love that come from pets. The right dog, cat, guinea pig or even fish can melt the hearts of almost anyone. I also think this can apply to “non children” people. Not that everyone wants kids (myself included) but they too can open our eyes to a different world if it is the right kid at the right time. I happily spent a moment jumping in puddles with a two year old the other day at my local cafe..all the other adults smiled and probably thought I was nuts but it was FUN! Who’d a thunk it??!!

    Our animals teach us to be open and to see the world from a different perspective. There is a lesson for all of humanity in there. Not everyone is ready to see it.

    Peace and Laughter,
    Maggi

  26. Beth Fitzgerald says

    Wow, what a good question. I have always been an animal lover then for many years also thought of myself as a people person. Now after ten years in the restaurant business, I am able to deal quite effectively with people but my true love other than my children, is dogs. I agree with so many of the statements. the one that says dogs don’t lie is probably what I find most important right now. I am sure that has to do with my divorce and what a liar my ex is but it also shows that the order of the reasons why we love dogs and their particular importance at any time changes with are circumstances. The truth is dogs are innocents (just like babies) and they are never corrupt until corrupted. But oh if you treat them with kindness, respect and love they respond in kind. Wouldn’t we all like to say that about our human relationships and encounters.
    After many years of being in the people business, I am becoming a dog trainer. It is sweetly rewarding unlike anything else.
    Patricia, I love your book, The other end of the leash and some day I hope to meet you.
    Happier than ever,
    Beth

  27. says

    Well, I feel like I need to represent for the other side here :)

    Of course, we are all probably less comfortable around strangers than around those familiar to us. So would I rather hang out with strange humans or with *my* dog? My dog, no question. But compare like to like and I’d much rather hang out with strange humans than strange dogs. Poorly socialized humans might be likely to say something rude, but I can be fairly certain they won’t bite my face off.

  28. Kate says

    I’m a little different than everyone who commented here in that I was never an animal person. In the presence of any of my aunts’ and uncles’ dogs, I would ignore them or pet them briefly and quickly wash my hands, forget about letting a dog kiss me or lick me anywhere! My own family adopted a puppy when I was a teen, and after a couple of obedience classes, he pretty much got forgotten and stayed an outdoor dog all his life and never went into our house – I couldn’t understand why my aunts and uncles let their dogs inside, in fact. When my family’s dog became an adult and grew to his full size I was afraid of him and never spent time with him.

    Cut to me being an adult and finally adopting a dog of my own, initially because my partner convinced me to. I did months of research and learned a few basic rules at home (no outdoor dog for me this time around as we’re in an apartment) through television programs, books, and websites. Two weeks after we brought him home, I still hadn’t fully connected with him – I had more “What have I done?” moments than you could imagine. And this despite the fact that I did most of the walking and feeding! I don’t know when exactly it happened, but something clicked. It may have been the first time we took him to the dog park and we met other dogs and owners, and watched him play with other dogs for the first time. Who knows. But I have since become one of those “dog people” who goes to people’s homes and spends more time with the dogs than with the people. I love my dog so much that I look forward to seeing him more than my own friends sometimes. I watch dogs interact and learn so much about them by watching their body language when they interact with each other, and with their humans. I look at my dog’s face – you know the look, when your dog looks at you expectantly waiting to see what you’re going to ask him to do – and I can’t believe that I got so lucky as to have found someone who loves me as much as he does. He’s really a miracle to me. He’s helped me out of my shell. From growing up not giving animals a second thought, I am learning from him that animals are more devoted and loving than most humans. They have no agenda – they just want you and you’re always more than enough.

    I think about my old dog and how neglected he was and it breaks my heart, and I only hope that he’s on the Bridge having forgiven me for being ignorant and insensitive.

  29. says

    I can definitely say I feel more comfortable around animals than I do people. Specifically dogs.
    When around my close friends and family I am my normal self, but put me in a new environment and it’s like I shut off. Put me around a dog in my new environment, and I can more appropriately focus my attention and have a conversation. I think that’s part of the reason I tend to be more outgoing in a show atmosphere (we compete in dog agility) than I am in school.

  30. Kristin says

    Funny, I’m the mirror opposite if you, Kate. I used to get along better with animals than people, especially cats (dogs sometimes, but not as much). When my daughter was born four years ago that completely changed, I now prefer (and need) human companionship. I get weepier over homeless people than homeless animals. Maybe motherhood chemically changed something in my brain.
    And since I know people will ask – I get along better with cats because it feels more like an equal relationship. They are more self-relient, which allows me to simply enjoy their company rather than having to “mother” them. I’m currently trying to rehome a dog whose owner bailed after we agreed to temporarily take him in until her living situation changed. I’ve tried to enjoy his company but I don’t. All I feel right now is frustration/ irritation and guilt for feeling frustrated/ irritated. Perhaps if the situation were different I wouldn’t feel this way. I don’t know.
    Confessional aside, I’m glad I found this article. While I don’t share many of your opinions on people I can understand why you prefer the company of animals. I hope those of you who have been hurt by other people find solace and healing.

  31. Holly says

    I was always a person who LOVED animals, animals, animals!…..I owned Horses and dogs my whole like. Everyone told me I would change when I had my own baby but I never believed them…….I didn’t even want children. The VERY DAY I brought my baby home from the hospital (I was 36 yrs old), I NEVER PATTED or payed ANY attention to my dog ever again. I never liked them again, especially in the house, yuk!…..now it is hard for me to understand how anyone can be animal people!

  32. meeka says

    There seems to be a scientific-genetic correlation with those who are introverted, those who tend to have lower blood pressure, those who are more reserved in social interactions, are more intuitive, and those are animal/earth lovers– in contrast to those who are extroverted, generally talk before they think (or talk constantly), tend to be less empathetic, are likely more successful at owning a business, cherish human-human interation, and could do with or without animals (if anything, they tend to be strict cat lovers), and here’s the weirdest part, many of them are lactose intolerant or do not enjoy cheese/dairy (this isn’t fireproof, but has been my observation!) Although I’m sure there are those who do not follow this to a T, or not at all, it has been my experience over the years. To those who transformed from devout animal lovers their entire lives to those feining for human-human contact post pregnancy, I do vote chemical change within the body, more specifically estrogen-based, which tends to heighten blood pressure and bring about those traits from the latter category. Call me a moonbat for these categorizations if you wish, but I’m stickin’ with genetic/chemical disposition. :)

  33. Joseph Shepherd says

    I would have to say that I share the same feelings with a lot of people on this site. I’ve always had a connection with animals for as long as I can remember. The first time the question came up was with my first serious relationship with a girl. She pointed out that I liked to spend a lot of time with my cat, I was concerned about leaving my cat for even a weekend, and sometimes I would think about him when I was with other people. She said jokingly (I think) that she was jealous of my relationship with the cat, haha. Move on years later and my partner just tonight asked me why I feel more comfortable going up to the cat and giving it lots of attention as opposed to giving people more attention. I still to this day do not have an answer for her or anybody else. I can take some guess’ as to why that is thanks to this post. I am going to have her read some of your input and maybe that will help her to understand my relationship with our cat :).

  34. Carole Heath says

    I have always liked animals from an early age, i lived in a council flat in East London, but i was always catching tadpoles and other creatures from the local lake in Victoria park and taking them home and putting them in a large fish tank in our flat. I also kept other animals like cats from time to time which were normally strays which i took in. I used to go to the animal market in Brick lane and always liked to look at the puppies and kittens which were on sale there, it has now been stopped sellings animals some years ago as it was a rather cruel practice as many of the animals were taken away from the mothers to soon and many died unfortunately very sad. I now have a dog called Jasper who is a Shih Tzu 8 years old and a lovely companion to my husband and myself. We have had two cats in the past Bilbo, and Tiger, and besides Jasper( Brandy he was a terrier cross ) and Jody a yorkshire terrier, i took him in the owner didn’t want him and then Tosca from the RSPCA also a terrier cross but sadly he was killed in a road accident, we were so upset as we only had him seven months. I agree with many of the previous comments sometimes animals can be better than some people, i think animals especially cat and dogs know when humans have a rapport with them, when people say dumb animals i don’t agree they have more intelligence than us humans think they have.

  35. Beck says

    I have no friends. My family is slowly being torn apart; going their own seperate ways in life. I would be all alone if it were not for my Toller, Seija. She is my guardian angel. She keeps me warm at night. She tells me no lies. She has empathy towards me as I do to her. She is my shoulder to both lean and cry on. She’s all I got. She asks very little of me and has simple needs. Unlike a so-called human friends, she does not use me to benefit herself in any way. She simply loves and wants to be loved right back. She does not care what I look like, how quiet and shy I am; she simply adores me for me. It does not matter whether or not I can hold up my end of a conversation, for silence and a deep understanding bonded between our soles is just as inseperable as a relationship built on words and a flse sense of trust. I would take my dog over any so-called human-friend I’ve had any day – because dogs are forever and people are the ones who will always turn around to bite you.

  36. says

    I’m definitely in the camp that prefers the company of non-human animals over people, but I’m wondering if anyone else ever feels that it’s really a pretty one-sided deal. Our non-human friends don’t have much choice in the matter, do they? Don’t you ever wonder if they’d choose to stay with you if they could roam freely in an environment where food was in abundance? I love my cats and dogs, but I would give anything if I could find a safe place where they could roam freely and choose to come “home” when and if they felt like it.

  37. Carole Heath says

    This is a very interesting article with many different comments to the question why do some people feel more empathy with dogs than some humans. I have posted a comment before regarding this question, recently i watched a programme on TV about the rapport many humans have with dogs, and how clever are dogs this programme was a real eye opener, one dog in Austria could understand signs and go and pick out the toy in another room which the certain picture showed it was amazing. One expert went as far to say that dogs could have more intelligence than a two year old child and a chimp may not be as clever as a dog. The programme went on to explain how human’s and dogs had first come together earlier than was throught via wolves etc being taken into human groups, and that dog’s had evolved their barks so humans could understand them amd communicate. The expert said there isn’t another animal on earth which has ever had such a rapport with human’s and dogs aren’t called man’s best friend for no reason. I think that dog’s if they are treated kindly can be just as much company than some humans, they seem to be able to judge your mood when you feel sad for instance i know my dog always cames up to me and wants to sit with me.

  38. Joe Powell says

    When I was young, my parent’s dogs would never entertain me. They were Chihuahuas, and were not for little children. It had always been my goal to connect with them, but never did. Did I mention that I am highly allergic to everything? Talk about obstacles. I found that as an adult, on lots of medication, I can have cats. My first cat was the only person in my life for a long time, as I was not too close with my family. I have never felt accepted by the two-leggers, but animals generally liked me. I was much more devestated by the passing of my first, beloved cat than any other loss I have ever felt. My worst fear is of losing another pet. I have also found another love in my life, when I discovered that I CAN have a Bichon-Frise. The only dog I can tolerate in my home, she is completely hypo-allergenic. She has allergies, which I have to treat. She is probably allergic to people.
    Of course, I love my wife and my son, too! My wife thinks that I am obsessive about animals, and it’s not normal. I am glad there are so many other people who feel the way I do.

  39. Elwyn Richards says

    I am a man aged 61 and I live in Britain. Ever since I was a child I have always preferred animals to people and I genuinely and truly love every animal on the planet. I cannot and WILL NOT intentionally hurt or kill ANYTHING no matter how small it might be. What right has anyone to end the life of any creature just because you can. I firmly believe that every creature has the right to exist and live out the full span of its natural life. I hate myself when I , quite unintentionally , step on an ant or a snail or any other poor creature and kill it. It really bothers me and I get really angry with myself. I often pick up snails,spiders ,worms and anything else I find in the road and put them out of harm’s way. Today, MAY 17th would have been my little dog’s 18th birthday, but sadly she had to be put to sleep on June 25th last year. I can’t begin to say how much I still miss her,she meant the world to me. I have had many pets over the years and loved them all ,and still do . My one hope is that when I die I am reunited with them all again, that would truly be heaven for me. Just like the contributor above me , I am married but my wife doesn’t feel the same way towards animals as me. Yes, I can most definitely assure you that you are not alone in your love of animals ,even though women, more than men, seem to have the more compassionate nature when it comes to animals.

  40. Carla says

    I have always preferred the company of animals to people… even as a child. Animals don’t judge you, don’t lie to you, don’t cheat on you, and their love is unconditional. They are better than people in SO many ways… Let’s look at the whole human race, all 7 billion of us: How we treat each other, how we kill, rape, assault, rob, insult, judge and hurt each other. Now let’s throw other species into the equation (plants AND animals): We do noithing but exploit, pollute and destroy everything we touch… not to mention cause mass extinctions of countless animals and plants! I find it amusing that many people are insulted by the phylogenetic species concept that humans separated from apes between 6 to 7 million years ago… Well as far as I’m concerned comparing humans and apes is an insult to primates!

  41. Tanuja says

    I have always been more comfortable with animals than human beings. They are genuine, loyal and non-judgemental and will give you more love than your heart can hold – no strings attached. They are the best friends anybody could ever have. Animals will stick by your side whether you are rich or poor, happy or angry, sick or in good health, adored or scorned by society, while most humans stay by your side DEPENDING on some/all of the above. Just like Elwyn Richards who has commented before me, my vision of heaven is a place where I will be re-united with all the animals that I have loved and lost over the years. That would make me most happy!

  42. thedesert says

    Loving dogs more than people is unhealthy. They are dogs with their own lives and we use them for a replacement for being socially retarded.

    grow up

  43. Casilu says

    In the past 31 years, I don’t think I have ever been without a pet. I have had dogs, cats, goats, ducks and geese and horses and the best times of my life have been when I was around these animals. I feel so much more comfortable around my dogs than I do around people. I am a Highly Sensitive Person and there are so many times I could relate about anumals who have touched my heart. I would prefer to live in a town where I could walk to the store or church, wherever I had to go, instead of driving a car. Over 20 years ago, I was driving down a gravel road and I could not help but hit a squirrel. I remember stopping the car and crying, that squirrel had no chance against that heavy vehicle. 8 years ago, we were in an Indiana town for a funeral and were stopped at a red light. I looked out the window and saw an injured robin moving itself along the curb on the street side with it’s wings, because of it’s injury. It was just trying to survive. I still get tears in my eyes when I think about that sight. My husband does not understand why I remember these things, nor why I would rather spend a day at home messing with my 2 dogs instead of getting out of the house. I get out of the house, I walk the dogs. To me that seems perfectly normal. It pressures me to be around people in social situations. There is no pressure like that with my dogs. Every time I come through the door they greet me like I was gone forever. I don’t even get greetings like that from my husband of 30 years. Give me the companionship of an animal any day!

  44. Cheryl says

    Animals either like you or not, and they’re real up front about letting you know this. People hide behind their true nature. I find that I have a real connection to animals, but I can’t connect with people. I was abused as a child, and was forced to hide it in the open, those that knew swept it under the carpet and I was treated as a thing not a child that needed help. They were guilty, they knew it and couldn’t look me in the face, and rather than stop it. Looked the other way. So maybe in part I can’t trust my own species, you don’t see other animals throwing young under a bus.

    My mother always came across as feeling that I was a burdon and yet couldn’t love my siblings enough. People are never there for you Fred.

    I learned a very long time ago, Never trust a human!

  45. gfhfg says

    I’m not comfortable near animals or people. I like animals though, they are nice. Most of them don’t like to get near me but that’s because I think they sense me not wanting to be near them either. Well it’s the same with people. I’m not a people person either. Humans and animals can most certainly detect that in a person, no matter how hard you hide it.

  46. jen79 says

    Very good question. I am more comfortable with animals, and I never questioned it until I found out, others dont have to force themselves to find human babies cute like I do. I thought it might be because animals are innocent. But watch the documentary on youtube called wolf pack. Its a docu about the pack in the yellow stone park. There you will see that the interaction between wolfes is very similar to human behaviour, betrayal, complotts, hidden agendas, secret meetings to turn down the leader and so on. I was shocked. There I understood, it must be something different. I think it is because we take on the role of the unconditional loving parent, and they take on the role of unconditional and ever grateful children. But even if they are not loving and grateful, we still love them, right? And we would still do our best so they are happy. I think it is something more than the eye can see and more than we can explain with sociological or psychological means. Its some sort of magic love happening between us and them .

  47. John Roberts says

    Animals have a different life. They are not stupid they have society. They rely on instinct. Humans are cruel and base conclusions on what they want to be right. They will not accept the opposite. An animal wil listen maybe even judge they might even understand. But the only reason I do not like people is that they don’t understand
    D or even try and they pry more than any other animal

  48. angie says

    I have been a animal lover since I can remember. I came from a broken family, my dad left when I was 2 years old and my mom worked all the time to support us kids. I never got alot of affection as a child, I felt very alone even though I had brothers and sisters. UNTIL animals came into my life. I loved and cared for any animal , birds,fish, dogs,cats you name it . I was always taking in stray animals and my mom would get so upset with me, but I couldn’t blame her, she had a hard enough time feeding us kids. But she always let me have a pet anyway! THANK GOD! Animals kept me sane, they were my guardian angels and still are to this day. They were there when I felt abandoned by the people who were to love and care for me. I never heard the words I love you, no hugs or kisses. So guess where I got my affection from? Thats right ,the only place that I felt accepted, my pets! People were heartless in my eyes, even at a very young age. I often wished I would have been raised by a pack of wolves then humans. I never felt like I fit in with people, I was a outcast. At the age 6 I knew that I wanted to be a veterinarian! I remember the day I told my mom I was so excited! Hey mom I know what I want to be when I grow up ! Her words cruched me! She said, your to stupid. I walked away with a very low sense of worth. Back to my animals for comfort. That made me dislike people even more. I had no desire to have children but got pregnant at a young age. I have a beautiful daughter and love her dearly,but my love for animals never went away. I also have told people that if they put a baby and a puppy on the floor I would go to the puppy. Some people think somethings wrong with me liking animals over humans . I think people that dont like animals have the problem. Anyone that hurts animals are the ones that needs help, they scare me! I was born to love animals there is nothing wrong with that! I now have a small parrot rescue and I am proud of what I do. So let me be me and you can be you! I will not change who I am and my love for animals for anyone! GOD BLESS ALL YOU ANIMAL LOVER!

  49. Trisha says

    Thanks for writing in, Angie, I’m so glad you have animals and a wonderful daughter in your life.

  50. Anne says

    I’ve been an animal lovers since I can remember…I am now 33 & it is a good few years now that I feel more confortable with animals (any kind) than humans.
    I feel at ease, relax, I am genuinely happy when with them. I tend to feel depressed around humans (dont know why).
    I have 2 cats & I am helping each weekend at the stables, where we have cats, dogs, horses (obviously :) )

    All without exception are just so happy to see me when I arrive…the c ats come directly to my car (well more in my car, maybe checking for a treat), the dogs just run at me & I can see the smile ontheir faces, & the same with the horses…I just call them & they come to me, put their head on my chest, push me around a bit (gently of course)…
    I talk to them probably even more than I would talk to humans.

    This is priceless to me, & I always have a tear when it’s time to go.

    You should see the boots of my car…I found a starving dog one day, & I had nothing to give her…since I have dog & cat food, carrots, apple, just in case

    I cant kill any living beings…I would put a spider or mouse out for example; I am the same with plants….always take in plant people dont want because dying or something, I always try to save them; I dont always manage …& I always have a tear if not.

    Sometimes (not for long though) I wonder if something is wrong with me..I really dont spend much time with humans (less & less to be honest) & feel maybe I should.

    Maybe is it because animals never hurt me, I dont know.

  51. Dog Lover says

    Someone above wrote something about being socially retarded, or something like that, They are wrong. To put it simply, YES, I prefer the company of my animals to humans. I like my animals better than people. I am more comfortable with them, they are true and genuine, humans are not. Its that simple….they have no alterior motive, they are loyal, and the simple things in life (affection, love, attention) mean the most to them…i have yet to meet a human that is as pure as my loving animals….

  52. Felinefriend2013 says

    In the words of Nietzsche “Man is the cruelest animal.”
    And…if you observe and read everyday of the heinous acts that we, as humans impart to each other–you will agree with this statement. It’s sad–but true. So much hate in the world–amongst each other. It’s no wonder why I have always had a connection and love for animals. (And interestingly enough–I am a bit introverted as well). We have so much to learn from animals. Their ability to provide companionship – without expecting much in return. With humans, there is always some agenda (hidden).

  53. jess says

    i just want to be happy and care-free all the time. i can’t feel that way around people. people always have negative things to say it seems. if you don’t have expensive clothes and a manicure all the time then you are sometimes viewed as gross and unattractive. i shouldn’t have to worry about what other girls think about me, when they’re the ones smothering their entire face in makeup.

    when i am with my baby pug there is not a care in the world. i tell her everything and we often go on woodland adventures. people think i’m strange for how much i love my dog. i find it far easier to talk to her than anyone i consider my friend or family. i was actually wondering what the psychology behind this was when i found my way onto this site. am i crazy?

  54. Marilyn says

    I believe as a counselor that if there is not a good balance between human and animal companionship there could be a problem. Trust might be a problem for those who prefer animals over their own parents or children. It may point to OCD.or some other mental health disorder. I was surprised to hear from one of my clients that he would not be able to visit his ailing mother because he didn’t want to leave his pets. This is extreme to put pets before people. I am an animal lover but people come first to me and always will. Yes, people disappoint but that is why we have our big boy pants.

  55. Judy says

    I have always loved animals and they have always seemed to love me. My mother told me once that when I was a tiny baby, I would be completely entertained by a pup lying near and I was content as long as he was there. She said I was the only one of her 7 children who had this love. I remember when I was about 3 and had a beagle I loved more than anything. I had all kinds of animals growing up, most always a dog and lots of rabbits, chickens, ducks, hogs and several misc. wild things since we lived in the rural south. It was usually my chore to feed the animals because I never forgot to feed and water them even when the snow was nearly up to my hips. I remember carrying water to them and chipping the ice out of their water bowls daily. My mother said she never had to ask me if I fed my animals because I was always concerned with their well being. I am still like that to this day. I have had to endure lots of grief in my time because I loved my animals so much, but was somewhat loathe to be around people. It seemed to get worse as I got older and now I am headed towards being the eccentric old lady with all those dogs! Ha! I have tried to analyze why I am so attached to them and I think one reason is because they offer unconditional love, which I am sorry to say I have only seen one person–my father, who had that gift. I did have a son and loved him so much and still do, but my dogs are my companions and they are my joy in life. They offer affection, companionship, protection and entertainment. I miss them when I am gone and rush home to them when I finished out in the world. I do not go many places that I cannot take them with me. I feel that after a couple of failed marriages, I am dealing with rejection and I know my dogs will never reject me. It seems I never feel good enough–you know, not thin enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough, not intelligent enough–not educated enough. My dogs do not care if I am fat, or if my hair ugly or if I have garlic breath–they love me anyway and they show it continuously. I seem to have a way with animals and my family jokingly calls me the animal whisperer because I have never met an animal who did not like me. I must admit sometimes it even amazes me. I have been able to preserve the life of baby animals which normally did not have a chance to live–but miraculously did. Once I stepped out of a car into a sea of 28 full grown pit bull terriers who were barking at my arrival to deliver my ailing computer to the technician. It didn’t occur to me that it was odd until the technician stated to me she had never seen anyone do that before. I had no idea what she was referring to until she pointed to all those little pit bull faces. I told her that animals just like me and she said she believed it because normally those dogs would not let people out of the car. They were just so cute though. I had absolutely no fear of them at all. I even made friends with an African Gray Parrot in a pet store once, which was not for sale because it would bite. There were signs all over the case cautioning one not to put hands near him. I did anyway and he loved me and made no attempt to bite–but everyone else in the store could not go near. I opened the cage and he stepped onto my hand making sweet noises–the owner was amazed because he could not touch this bird. Horses always like me also–I have been able to ride horses who would not allow anyone else to ride. I do not question it, I just go with it. My point is I love them all so much and I feel concern for their well being. I feel emotional when I see them mistreated and it makes me angry. I know I am different and I am just now starting to be comfortable with this because I think I have a gift. I am not going to stress over my affection for non-human animals–I am just going to enjoy it. Also, I love babies and kids just fine!

  56. Kikovica says

    I love both humans and animals. Just as I don’t like every dog or cat I see, I don’t like every human being I encounter…it’s a matter of resonance, sympathy…I’d like to have kids one day, although I don’t find babies adorable as puppies or kittens, just plain boring. It’s hard to say why some people like animals more than humans (or vice versa). Maybe there’s no need to find reasons, we should all just enjoy what (or whom) we like most and who opens our heart to greater and extent and thus brings us more true joy and happiness. I have two cats and two dogs and always travel with the dogs, and sometimes-if circumstances allow-with the cats also, but I can’t imagine not visiting my ailing mother for a day or two because I couldn’t leave my pets. I miss them very much when I’m at work and can’t wait to come home to them…my perfect day is hiking with the dogs. But still, I love some people as well and people in general. And plants. All is good when you love, it doesn’t matter whom…

  57. Nicole says

    I do prefer animals over people. I am an extrovert, but still people disappoint me. In your life every person will disappoint you or hurt you at one time or another. My dogs never do. I know they love me unconditionally. People don’t love unconditionally. I am married and have kids that I love dearly. My dogs are loyal, do not judge me, and they make me feel special every time I come home. They live to be with me. I have 3 dogs and 5 cats. I am very social and have a few true friends that I trust. My husband and I have a good marriage going on 24 years. I have always been an animal person. I am just attracted to them. I can’t remember a time I did not have an animal in my life. I feel life would be empty without them.

  58. sammie says

    I am 52 and I have always preferred animals over people. I like people who help animals and are good to animals. the rest I have no use for. I have learned over the years that I just hate people! don’t like being around them don’t trust them. and like being alone but always with animals. so really I am never alone. I would love to have a farm with hundreds of animals and no one else around for 50 miles! only leave to get food for the animals and myself. I would then be a happy camper!

  59. jake says

    I knew a woman who loved animals more than people. She would go to local animal shelters and adopt cats and dogs. She would not get the average animal, she had to get the cat with 3 legs or the blind dog. She loved animals so much that she was surprised when her child ended up in foster care for neglect. Every time I hear of people loving animals more than people I think of this woman and others like her with delusional thinking.

  60. Underdog says

    I am more for the underdog as I call it. People have beat me raped me dumped me off with others I was not my mothers priority I was treated as a option. So in my life I feel like one of the many animals that has gone through the same thing I can relate to their fear of humans. Because I fear some humans myself. well the one’s that are so called normal. I love the people that can not help themselves or the ones born with DS or other mental disabilities again I can relate to them some family’s throw them away aging parents are treated the same way I am the one that speaks up for them when they hurt or are in need I am the one that holds their hand when they take their last breath. I am the one that deals with the biting kicking scratching cussing out hitting spitting when they can’t not use words to let you know whats going on inside of their bodies I take the time to know them to understand them in a way no one else is willing to or wanting to WHY??? because I am a underdog.. Sometimes no words speak louder than words themselves Give me my dogs cats birds all wildlife and all my little people and I will show you a woman with a full heart and a happy life. I don’t need society Idea of NORMAL.

  61. Anonymous says

    Animals tend to have fewer and less complicated social rules. Interacting with animals tends to involve less confusion, since we automatically put ourselves in control of the situation; the animal has no choice or power over the situation. Also, one can start interacting with animals at any age; if one misses certain develomental milestones in forming human relationships, it’s basically impossible to learn later on what was missed before. There is no “social/relationships for adults” courses out there, unless you have Asperger syndrome. Maybe animals are just more forgiving.

  62. Erika says

    Definitely prefer animals, lifelong condition, as an iconoclast, don’t care if it disturbs most people or not.
    Being an introvert in an extrovert society means you get marginalized.so why should i care what our shallow culture thinks?
    My human family did not teach me what love was,Dogs and Rabbits taught me what love was.
    I believe that animals are closer to God than humans are and that humans somehow got twisted and cut ff.

    I do not see loving nature and animals more than humans as an “evolutionary misfire” , but an act of a conscious universe to try to save a living planet by operating through some humans. Civilized Humans are destroying the planet and killing off other species at an alarming rate. Caring more for other species and nature more than your own largely unconscious species is an act of courage that is probably sparked deep inside by the source of life..you are more in alignment with God/Source in caring for an animal or nature than a twisted unnatural species whose civilization creates an artificial environment that parallels a zoo.
    What other species is so stupid that it locks itself in a cubicle for 8 hours a day and squanders its life away on things that are trivial and call it work?

  63. Liz says

    I think we’re more comfortable around animals often because they’re upfront, love you for who you are, and , to me most pertinently, they don’t ‘act’. They’re upfront, and themselves.

  64. Diane says

    I am more attracted to dogs than people (including babies). In fact, I find little talkative 2-year-olds annoying. I got my first dog about 4 years and 7 months ago (for the wrong reasons)! She was 3 months old and the most adorable ball of fur. My life was a mess. After her spaying appointment, she came walking out drowsy with a little drop of blood on her paw. I feel in love. This puppy needed me and I didn’t know it then, but I needed her. She keeps me grounded and I love her more than anybody. Maybe that’s not good but with prayer, I’ll find out. But for now, what a gift God.

  65. Kathleen Roskowski says

    Ever since I can remember, I’ve had a dog. No brothers or sisters, but I always had a dog to share my time with, and trust, and love. As I got older, I realized people, no matter if they are family, friends, or spouses, can lie, put their bad habits before you, such as drinking too much, being selfish, and not giving their love unconditionally, as you dog does. My dog stays with me when I’m sick, having a bad day, and senses things about me that no human possibly could. I have trusted my own relatives, only to find out later on in life how they misjudge you or your family. My animals to me are a stronger family than my own. I love my children and husband, but at times they let you down, but never my canines. To me, they are angels in fur coats. I had a dog that even gave his life for me. He thought I was in danger and thought a policeman was going to hurt me, or threaten me, and nipped at the cop, and was shot 3 times. He died bleeding to death, when no one would lend a hand to help me, and they would not even let me take him to get help. Now I trust people even less. My animals give me love, they don’t judge you, and are always there to welcome you home. How many humans stand by you when you really need them? How many humans love you forever? Animals don’t fight with you, argue, or cause you grief. I can’t understand people, but I do love my dogs, and love them with all my heart.

  66. Julie says

    I have always had a very special connection to animals and nature. I think what most people commenting here are saying is that animals are pure in spirit, that’s how I feel about them. I can almost feel an animal’s nature, like an energy, and I can only describe that I feel whole and complete when animals are in my life, which is why they always have been. There are certain people who have a closeness to animals and can relate to them in such a way that I consider it as one of the gifts that they were born with – as we are all born with certain gifts. There have been people in general who have formed such incredible bonds with animals, look at Andre the seal as just one example of this – he was totally free but chose to live with the human connection that spanned about 25 years. His “owner” (he never truly owned him as he was free) was a gentleman that seemed to have such a special connection to animals , befriending wild birds and even a bat! I have never cared whether people understand my love of animals or nature, I feel it is an essence of life I was given and I embrace it. As most posts already mentioned, animals, especially dogs teach us many things, and the greatest of these is unconditional love. There is nothing higher to behold on this planet than love.

  67. Chelsea says

    I would rather be around animal’s then people, animals attract me like ants on sugar, my friend tells me it’s the animal instinct in me I never understood that, it may be horrible to say and sound worse but if it came down to it I would choose my pet or any animal over a person, I’ve been like that since I was a child, I have no idea if it was because how uneasy raised, abandoned, over and over as a child and even now as an adult, I still have trouble interacting with people, animals love u for u, are never judgmental, they feel what u feel, and they never leave your side, they are your true family ….

  68. Carole Heath says

    I agree with many of the comments on this site animals are indeed better than some people. I have a dog a Shih Tzu called Jasper he is my friend and companion I feel empathy towards him and I am sure he does towards me. I have found in life that some people not all seem to use others for their own ends and when you say no they get annoyed. People who say if you loose your pet oh it is only a cat or dog don’t know what they are talking about. A bond with an animal can be very deep I know myself I lost two dogs and two cats two due to illness and two to road accidents. I was so upset both times it took me quite awhile to get over the loss. Jasper healed the hurt of their loss and I have had him for 13 years now.

  69. says

    Hello

    I do love animals. But I am horrified that people can say they love animals more than human beings. Or that animals are better than some people. This is so senseless. If you compare the best dog in the world who just rescued an infant baby from a horrible death, to a serial killer and rapist, you can reach such a conclusion but comparison is not reason. It’s impossible to compare two completely different species just because we live in the same world. How about :”some mosquitoes are better than some people?” or “some parrots are better than some worms” ? This is an illogical statement which is just the result of projections, and does not mean nor lead to anything.

    I am just out of a relationship with a young woman who meant the world to me – I was ready and offered to marry her – but the relationship collapsed partly because of her dog. Basically, her dog would be #1 even though she claims “it’s just a dog, not a human being”. But then the one who receives attention and care from her was her dog. She just forgot that human relationships also need some investment, and she did not invest in our relationship as much as she invested with her dog.

    There are some false premises in the comments above. Science has proven very well that animals in general can be cruel and kill others out of cruelty. Genocides have been described among chimpanzees in Africa. Wolves kill sheep not for food, but because killing is fun. Even a cat playing with a mouse for hours is cruel. Why ? Because he is inflicting useless pain on another creature. The reason behind it. Animals simply have no moral code.

    Dogs are somehow smart, but way less than a human being. They cannot read. They cannot create hypothesis and deduction. They can hardly control their emotions. Basically they eat, sleep, hug they owner and bark and play and reproduce. They are cute (not all of them). They are furry creatures, like the teddy bear you owned as a child. But a teddy bear is a projection, not a real thing. It’s not even a bear.

    Some commenters wrote about the unconditional love of dogs. The problem is that this is not love. Love is not about worshipping you and making you feel like you are special everyday. Love is something else. When there are difficulties, to be able to go through them, to help the other person when they are in despair, etc. Dogs have evolved to be cute and display emotions in a way which will be rewarded with food. Observe how dogs work for a sheperd : they come to get a quick pat on the head because they worked well, and they eat only when the sheperd wants. They do their job, they get lots of exercize, and in return they get the affection of their owner. All this gives them a place in this world. Dog are made to work and exercize.

    Let me quote Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer :
    On Owners Who Love Too Much
    Simply loving your dog doesn’t make you a good dog owner, and showering your pet with nonstop affection is a common mistake. Many of my clients see their dogs as their children or their soul mates. This is unhealthy. Dogs need three things: exercise, discipline, and affection, in that order. In the dog world, there’s no affection. The pack leader doesn’t lead a hunt, then turn around and say, “Hey! Great job! Let’s go to Petco!” Make your dog work for your affection. Before you pet him, make him come to you or sit for you. Don’t go over and pet him out of the blue. That’s a submissive behavior coming from someone who’s supposed to be dominant, and it can be confusing.

    So when Cesar Millan says “in the dog world there is no affection” I tend to believe him.

    In fact, if you cannot have a healthy relationship with people is often because you have an unhealthy relationship with dogs. I believe mostly women have this trait, because let’s face it : it is easier to love a dog than to love a human. Dogs do not have their own volition, they will just follow whatever the owner wants because they have evolved to do so.

    You may want to read the following blog post wich tells a lot about attachement to animals http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201202/how-emotionally-attached-are-you-your-pet

    Ultimately, I regret that this woman I love chose to prefer her dog over a man who truly loved her, but a part of me is thanking God that she left : how could I be happy with her anyway ?

    I will get a dog pretty soon, and I will be not the owner but the master, the pack leader, and my dog will be happy. But he will not sleep in my bed, lick my face or do whatever he wants. He will do what I command. And that’s the best way to love your dog.

    Do not ask how your dog can love you : ask how you can love your dog.

  70. Trisha says

    To Marc, re: “So when Cesar Millan says “in the dog world there is no affection” I tend to believe him.” I am close to speechless as to how to answer this, except to say that arguing “there is no such thing as affection” in the world of a dog belies all of biology (see research on oxytocin and social bonding, see Panskepp and Berns on core emotions in non human animals) and centuries of our experiences with dogs. What a sad, mechanistic, and egocentric view of the world, as if humans have exclusive rights to feelings of love and affection.

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