04.02.18 | Animal Spirits

Ask the owner of a sick or seriously injured pet about capping the anticipated vet bill and you may learn something about animal connection. “Whatever it takes.” But the dog in any case is nearing the end of its natural life. Whatever it takes. But the poor thing is suffering from advanced arthritis, incontinence, and a horrendous case of halitosis. Don’t refer to him as a thing and, yes, Whatever It Takes.

Our Member Monday (4/2) topic is about man’s connection to animals, "The Psychology of Human Bonding: Why Do We Love Our Pets So Much?"  https://www.kosmosjournal.org/news/the-psychology-of-human-bonding-why-do-we-love-our-pets-so-much/  ). We will try to unpack the mystery of a bond so powerful that it sometimes leads to a “pet-ocentric" life. Joining us as our lead participant in the discussion will be member Carol Frank, pet industry expert at Birdseye Consulting. 

The pet connection is often described in terms of unconditional love. Love. Perhaps that’s another way of saying the connection simply bypasses the human neocortex and is limbic-to-limbic. As such, animals are perfectly themselves, not the elaborately perverse psychological mysteries that people seem to become. It thus may speak more to the relative incapacity for the more complicated business of loving people.

In any case, the subject reveals much about being human. We may explore the power of projection i.e. the degree to which pet love may actually emanate from within the self. Perhaps certain animals coevolved with humans over the ages to become the domesticated versions that man needed to address certain psychological aspirations. 

We may explore the extent to which the capacity for strong animal bonding reflects one’s overall  emotional intelligence. But, before automatically slapping on the good guy label, one should note that Hitler, a vegetarian, was an avid animal lover and was reportedly the most inconsolable in those final bunker days when he had to put down Blondi, his beloved german shepherd.

Maybe the power of animal connection really boils down to it as the ultimate form of self-affirmation, captured by the wish, indeed a prayer, “may I be as good a person as my dog thinks I am.”

Whatever it takes.

- Steve Smith.

Dustin SimantobComment