Love Your Pet? Why Our Connection To Animals Matters

For months one of my sons has been quietly asking for an animal.  He feels so deeply connected to animals that sometimes we have to stop on the bike path just to make sure that the squirrel made it up the tree safely or that the ants got across before a bike squashed them.

He spends his free time reading books about animals, filling pages of his animal research binder with drawings and facts.

The other day he asked me if I will visit him if he provides a helicopter landing pad in the middle of the Amazon, because he is going to study animals there when he grows up and he knows there will not be roads for cars where he will be deep in the jungle.

My husband and I have been thinking about what animal would be a good fit and after much waiting and anticipation, we introduced two little balls of living, breathing fur to our family this week.



Meet Snowball


Meet Oreo

Both are Holland Lops, one is a Sable Point and the other a Broken Black.  (I think you can probably guess which is which.)

As I watched my children interact I started pondering why we as humans feel the need to have something furry or alive next to us.  Is it because we like being caretakers or is it because animals teach us more than we could ever expect? What is it about animals that makes us care about them so much?

Perhaps it is because animals bring out the best of our other senses -the senses that we push to the back burner in this noisy world.

We place a huge emphasis in our society on words as the only way to communicate.  We set up schools, work environments, offices, parties etc as if we only communicate through words.  We have become a very noisy and busy society.  Most have forgotten how to sit in stillness, observe and just be.

We teach kids to push their feelings aside as we measure things in terms of black and white – right and wrong.  By the time a child is out of grade school we have conditioned them to measure their worth in concrete results.

With animals, we sit.  We observe.  We feel.


Animals teach us how to be gentle, how to watch body language, how to develop (and process) emotions without the messy complication of words.  In essence, animals teach us how to reconnect with our feelings.  This is the very reason why animals are used in therapy situations.  The person is able to come to the feeling naturally and may explore an even deeper range of feelings.

Take Wilson’s biophilia hypothesis as an example. ” Wilson’s (1984) biophilia hypothesis is based on the premise that our attachment to and interest in animals stems from the strong possibility that human survival was partly dependent on signals from animals in the environment indicating safety or threat. The biophilia hypothesis suggests that now, if we see animals at rest or in a peaceful state, this may signal to us safety, security and feelings of well-being which in turn may trigger a state where personal change and healing are possible.”  – source Wikipedia

We live in a society where our feelings are out of whack.  Really out.

People are angry, people feel they have a right to be a jerk.

Being “tough” is considered a virtue or a good character trait. If you think I am crazy just look at the ads, the video games, the tv shows the movies, they are filled with violence and anger.  Walk through Best Buy and you will see posters upon posters of burly angry men with chains, guns or other weapons.

We live in a society where being sneaky and cunning is praised and reinforced in movies, tv shows and politics.

Adults tell kids that it is not nice to bully, but in reality, we glorify bully behavior in media constantly.   Turn on the tv, go to the movies, load a video game and it all reeks of bullying.  It’s all about beating the other guy.

I think we all secretly crave being sentimental and kind and gentle.  We crave being vulnerable with our emotions, but for some reason we stuff those feelings down.  Probably because it is easier. Anyone can get mad, anyone can get rude, that’s easy.  It takes true strength to stay calm in a storm and be kind and gentle and thoughtful.

Perhaps it is through our interaction with animals that we learn more not about the animal, but more about ourselves and that is why we seek their companionship.  We like how we act around animals, we laugh, we are kind, we are gentle, we are curious, we are open, we truly feel our good (and sometimes vulnerable) feelings and that is a welcomed relief.

Animals matter, because feelings matter.





P.S. I’m curious, how has an animal impacted your life?  I had a goat when I was young and I will always remember the spunk that my goat had.  He would jump all over the place and have a good time.  To this day I identify with being a little spunky when I am happy.  🙂

About The Author

Summer Brackhan

Mom, sociologist, teacher, author, musician, world traveler, parenting and health coach who believes healthy living incorporates body, mind and soul and that life is not about living in little boxes, but experiencing everything at its fullest.

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