If so, you are not by yourself. Americans are devoted to their pets. Birthday parties, extra space on the couch (or even the bed), and elaborate funeral and cremation rites are just a few ways we demonstrate this.
In relation to that, those of us who have experienced the loss of a pet are all too familiar with the arduous and difficult grieving process. The grieving process for a lost pet goes through real stages and is just as difficult as losing any other family member.
You might even need to speak with a therapist if you recently lost a cherished pet in order to process your emotions. Please feel free to contact one of our qualified online therapists for support as you work through this trying period.
Here’s a detailed look at every justification for why it occasionally seems like we love our dog more than our neighbor.
For humans, empathy is a complicated emotion. It appears to be vanishing from society in many ways. We are growing more and more numb to other people’s suffering as a result of the incessant media assault of violence, death, and despair. Why then is it so simple to feel compassion for suffering animals?
A potential cause that could surprise you has been revealed by a new study by criminologist Jack Levin.
In this study, participants were asked to respond to a made-up news item about a victim who suffered a baseball bat attack that left him or her unconscious and with numerous damaged limbs. The victim was either a one-year-old infant, an adult human, a six-year-old dog, or a puppy. The scenario was the same, but there was one critical difference.
In contrast to the adult human, respondents’ empathy for the infant, puppy, and adult dog was noticeably lower. This shows that our capacity for empathy is independent of our species. Instead, it has to do with feeling vulnerable and helpless.
Similar to how we feel about our children, we have a natural attachment for animals. Because they are unable to easily help themselves, we have an impulsive caring for and desire to assist them. Adult humans are viewed as being able to assert their rights and protect themselves without difficulty. Children and animals, on the other hand, are totally dependent on people for their housing, food, and safety.
Animals and children both exhibit an innocence that we are compelled to preserve. So, in reality, our enhanced empathy for dogs and cats has nothing to do with a predilection for a particular species and everything to do with our fundamental human desire to safeguard and care for the defenseless.
Now you know why the next time you hear a news report about a dog (or a child) being harmed, your blood will start to boil. This study also revealed another intriguing finding: female respondents were much more likely to express equal empathy for each of the four hypothetical victims.
What else is going on in our relationship with animals, aside from our natural inclination to protect the defenseless?
a person who accepts us as we are. Who has zero hopes and dreams? who, no matter how grumpy we may be feeling today, is always delighted to see us. We yearn for unwavering love. This rare commodity is practically unattainable in human relationships.
It makes no difference if your partner dumped you, your boss yelled at you, or your car broke down on the freeway. Morris or your beloved Fido are by your side. While rubbing against you, he is gazing at you with adoration. either wagging his tail or purring happily.
“Animals touch the most intimate parts of our hearts: our need to nurture and protect, our need for companionship and love.”
No matter how thin, wealthy, athletic, or well-liked you are, your dog or cat doesn’t give a damn. Simply put, all he or she wants from you is your presence, your love, your voice, and your touch. And that means everything in our “dog-eat-dog” society (no pun intended). In fact, we value this unconditional love so highly that it has the power to alter our brain’s chemistry.
It has been shown that spending time with a pet lowers blood pressure, lowers stress hormones, and releases chemicals that cause calm. In general, people who own pets are just physically and mentally healthier than people who don’t.
A few of us even like talking about our animals and have even confided in them about our concerns. Additionally, you won’t discover a more receptive crowd anyplace. Whatever you tell them, they won’t pass judgment on you. They’ll still adore you as much as they always have. And you never have to worry that they might betray your trust or gossip behind your back, unlike humans.
Does it make sense to love animals more than people?
According to psychologists, a variety of factors, including sociocultural norms, religious convictions, personality traits, and early experiences, might have an impact on how we feel towards animals. Researchers have also proposed a genetic component to compassion for animals.
According to a study, those who care about animals have a particular variant of the gene that makes the hormone of love known as oxytocin, which is vital for human empathy and strengthens social bonds. Thus, oxytocin aids in the bonding process between humans and animals, and those who value animals are friendlier and more compassionate.
According to psychologists, the love you have for your child is identical to the love you have for animals. Due to their complete dependence on us, pets arouse the same protective feelings in us as our own children do. Animals are innocent beings that cannot defend themselves when they are in difficulty, which is why we love them and want to protect them.
We genuinely care about our pets’ happiness because we love them so much. Because it reflects our strongest connections to another species, our love of pets is revolutionary. Things pertaining to the species to which they belong are unimportant to us.
Instead, we value animals more than people because we believe they are defenseless and innocent, and we treat them like babies for the entirety of their lives. Animals and children cannot defend their rights in the same way that people can.
Children and animals always appear defenseless and innocent. We believe that they ought to be safeguarded as a result. The instinctual ability to tell one species from another is not used. Instead, you think that because of their weakness, you ought to take care of them both.
Therefore, it is understandable that whenever you learn that someone has abused an animal, you will likely become angry. Additionally, studies have demonstrated that when compared to their male counterparts, women are typically more sympathetic toward animals.
Are There Specific Benefits of Owning a Pet?
There is great delight in having a devoted animal companion. They do more than just keep you company; they love you unconditionally. So what advantages do humans and animals share?
Improve Your Self-Esteem
People have sensitivity. One unfavorable remark can quickly destroy someone’s sense of self and cause them to question their value. Pets are always delighted to spend time with you, don’t judge, and are forgiving.
People feel good about themselves when they interact with their pets, which improves their impression of themselves. According to research, people who are attached to their dogs have higher self-esteem. Additionally, pet owners experience reduced stress and happiness.
Contribute Toward Your Emotional Stability
It’s completely natural for many people to communicate with their animals. Pets can also assist you in maintaining your emotional stability in addition to being a discussion buddy. They alleviate the affects of the things that stress you out and satisfy the fundamental human need for contact.
Pets are present-focused and can help us become more aware. Because of this, people who keep pets are less likely to experience despair and anxiety. They also take pleasure in life.
Pets can accept you as you are. They will never criticize you and are excellent listeners. You feel at ease around them because of their commitment and virtues.
Pets simultaneously fill many distinct roles. You have a dependable companion in them, they keep you company, and they offer you emotional support, especially in trying times. When you are with your pet, you always feel needed, and the acceptance you experience improves your mood.
Pets Are Empathetic
The capacity for empathy is the capacity to sympathize with and comprehend the experiences and emotions of another. Empathy is a quality shared by humans and animals.
According to recent studies, some animals—including dogs, dolphins, monkeys, and elephants—can experience a variety of human-like emotions, including fear, compassion, happiness, respect, and delight, as well as show empathy for both people and other animals.
According to research, dogs can read their masters’ emotional states and react to them just like a human would. That implies that your dog genuinely cares when you’re upset and wants to support you by showing empathy and offering comfort.
Help Make Healthy Lifestyle Changes
Pets satisfy your emotional requirements, but you also have to meet their demands on a daily basis. Having a pet might help you develop good habits by adding structure and routine to your day. You must establish and adhere to a program for feeding, exercising, and grooming your pet. You may experience a sense of purpose and stability as a result.
You have to take care of your pet no matter how you’re feeling. Pets inspire us to exercise. You can boost your physical activity and fulfill your daily exercise requirements by walking or running with your dog.
Help Meet New People
It’s beneficial to your social life to own a dog. With a pet by your side, loneliness is never an issue. However, they can also assist you in making new acquaintances with neighborhood pet owners and connecting with those around you. They assist their owners in establishing social bonds and receiving assistance from others, both of which are beneficial to long-term health.
Why do I care so much about my dog?
Most likely, if you own a dog, you would sacrifice virtually anything for them. Those “Feelings are a very genuine thing.
The nuances of dog ownership aren’t all glamorous—you have to deal with poop bags, fur on your clothes, and planning your entire existence around your dog’s potty schedule—but there’s still a strong and palpable link between humans and dogs.
When we learned that we had to put him down, as the owner of a border-collie mix who first entered my heart and home about 15 years ago, I was reminded of this unique link.
It’s Willie here. Before the dishes went into the dishwasher, he was the mischievous puppy that would lick them. He was the ideal partner for both cross-country skiing and running. Watch out if he ever sees a squirrel!
One of my favorite memories of Willie is when he first saw the moon when he was a puppy. He also howled for the first and only time at this particular period. His little puppy vocal chords shouted out a high-pitched scream as he peered up at the perplexing, glowing bright yellow monster in the sky “oooowwwhh!
The moment when Willie recognized that my wife was upset and came up to her and wouldn’t stop giving her his paw until she smiled is my wife’s favorite memory.
These are the kinds of memories that leave a lasting impression on you and help to fill your heart with love and satisfaction for your pet. Your dog becomes more than just a pet because of these memories and experiences.
As you can see, Willie was more than just my dog and the familiar family pet. He is quite similar to your dog.
We are aware of the extraordinary connection that exists between humans and dogs as pet owners. We simply understand it. Our dogs give us life.
Additionally, the relationship between people and animals is supported by science rather than just anecdotes.
Numerous studies, including a more well-known one by animal behaviorist Takefumi Kikusui, have attempted to explain why our warm and fuzzy buddies make us feel so warm and fuzzy. He discovered that gazing into our dog’s googly eyes increases connection and oxytocin levels, the feel-good chemical.
“Our findings imply that oxytocin-mediated eye-gaze bonding between owner and dog is similar to that between a human parent and a young child, according to Kikusui.
“And this surprises us since although dogs and humans do not have a reproductive bond, they both have learned similar skills.
It’s no surprise that there are more pets in the US than children given the inherent level of affection that exists. And there is a huge margin there. One report claims that there are four offspring for every pet.
I could attest to why it hurt so much to have to let my dog go since I was a living, breathing example of everything mentioned above. For long years, Willie had been coping with a nerve sheath tumor on his left arm. It had come to the point that he needed medication to walk comfortably.
Additionally, the tumor had expanded so quickly that it was rupturing his skin, necessitating unaffordable care, and spreading infections. It was not possible to amputate Willie’s arm at his old age. We all knew Willie had a strong spirit, and doing that kind of surgery would have crushed his spirit.
We came to the conclusion that we had to put him to sleep as the tumor continued to grow and became more obvious.
I am positive that many people experience the loss of a family member when their dog dies. And the reason for this is fairly obvious—our dogs truly do become a big part of our family.
One of the greatest joys in life is having a dog of your own. Dogs are the epitome of unconditional love, and they have much more to teach us humans than we think. The sorrow of losing a pet is outweighed by the many happy memories and humorous stories that I, along with my entire family, have.
Dogs are hilarious, uplifting, and genuinely deserving of the title “best friend.” Who else would welcome you each day as if they had been anticipating you their entire lives?
Willie played a significant role in my life and in the founding of Barkly, a digital marketplace created to help local dog walkers expand their companies while keeping 100% of their profit. As much as we do, Willie, Schroeder, and Atlas, our dogs, are co-founders.
I will eventually have the opportunity to rescue another dog, which will let the sadness fade. But a big part of my heart will always belong to Willie. He was the dog who first showed me the joys of pet ownership. And I want that everyone could at some point in their lives feel this bliss.
Happy trails, Willie, young man
Because of you, thousands of dogs are going outside today to run, walk, and play.