There’s love between animals and humans, there’s no doubt about that. But why is this bond important?
70% of households in the U.S. own a pet, with dogs, cats, fish, and birds making up the majority of animal companions.
Not only that, but we have been domesticating animals and livestock for thousands of years. Animals have helped us get food, hunt other animals, work the farms, and even our early ancestors kept pets because they loved them.
But is there a science behind the human-animal bond? Here’s what research says about our relationship with Fido and Fluffy and some human-animal bond examples.
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Why Do Humans Love Animals?
First, let’s answer this question: why do people love animals and pets? This psychology is very simple. Humans, like most animals, have a natural instinct to care for others. Traditionally, we use this instinct to care for our own children. But this instinct comes out when we own a pet.
But there are many theories that focus on the human interest in animals.
One particular theory comes from E.O. Wilson. In 1984, he created the biophilia hypothesis. Biophilia explains that humans fixate on many aspects of natural life. Not only that, but we have an emotional attachment to nature and other non-human living beings. This can be why humans experience positive emotions toward all animals, not just pets.
The Role of Animals in This Bond
Sure, humans love animals. But do Fido and Fluffy truly love you or do they expect you to only fill their food dish? Science does confirm that domesticated pets enjoy interacting with their human owners. A healthy human-animal relationship does stir positive emotions in animals, securing this bond.
Throughout history, there has always been a deeper relationship between humans and animals. For example, we bred certain dogs to help us hunt and attack prey, while also staying loyal to us. Even today, farmers use dogs to herd livestock.
Sure, dogs did all the dirty work and not cats. Right? Actually, that’s wrong! Cats also have incredible hunting skills and these skills can benefit farmers.
But do pets enjoy being cared for? Well, it’s a little difficult to ask our furry friends this question, so we base our answers on science and animal psychology.
Let’s start with dogs. Looking at their wolf ancestors, we know that dogs are pack animals. Dogs not only enjoy the company of owners but also enjoy how everyone in the “pack” improves the chances of survival.
Understand that there are many facts about animals that we don’t understand and we’re always learning more about our furry friends.
The Human-Animal Bond Is Complex
Do you have a pet? We love animals and our pets love us back. That’s all there is to the human-animal interaction, right? As you can see, the human-animal bond is complex and goes into various topics, from history all the way to psychology. Studying this unique relationship will give us more insight into animals and how we can make them happy. Continue reading our blog for more interesting pet facts!