Meet Mark

Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

Tell Me More
Stay Connected
April 06, 2011

The Human-Animal Connection

By Mark Sisson
92 Comments

I imagine most of us have (or have had) animals in our lives – pets at home, livestock on the farm, and so forth. For me, it’s a yellow lab named Buddha. True to his title, he has some calm, composed moments – mostly in the glory of outdoor adventures, but he’s just as much an example of big, slobbery enthusiasm. (Such is the life of a labrador retriever.) He’s been a faithful pal, eager workout companion, and much-needed comic relief more times than I can recall. When I’m in need of time away from society, he gets a special pass to join me. There’s just something different about hanging out with a dog – or most animals, I’d venture to say. There’s more to the human-animal connection, however, than just playing fetch. Throughout human existence, animals have acted as companions, protectors, and workmates. They’ve herded alongside us in the fields, accompanied us in battle, aided us in rescue missions, comforted us in illness and trauma, acted as service animals, stood by as patient and loyal friends. Experts have long examined this deep, even innate bond. Among the more intriguing theories are those that suggest our relationships with animals contributed to our species’ evolution and helped define our very sense of humanity.

Anyone who’s spent much time around small children has seen first-hand the affinity children have for animals. (Maybe you remember your own fascination from those years.) Experts in the field of child development often cite the rich role animals play in the imaginative lives of children as well as the potent influence animals have when included in psychological or medical care for children.

Fast forward to adulthood, and most of us still seek out that inter-species interaction (labelled anthrozoology, by the way). Some 63% of American households have pets. (An untold number are run for, as they say, the sole comfort and convenience of said pet.) We take up bird-watching and wildlife photography. We go on safaris and visit zoos. And then there are the dog shows. (As little TV as I watch, it’s somehow disturbingly easy to get sucked into those, Best in Show parody notwithstanding.) We benefit from the quiet, nonjudgmental nature of their presence. Research has repeatedly shown that humans respond in a unique way to animals in a wide variety of therapy and care settings.

Lest we forget (or go too far down the sentimental path), animals have of course also served as a critical food source. In hunter-gatherer days, hunting represented a fulcrum of human evolutionary progress. Our species certainly benefited from the calorie, nutrient-intense sustenance that game, particularly larger game, provided. It freed us up to do other things besides forage, and it substantially influenced subsequent brain development.

Yet, hunting also served (and still serves, in respectful, responsible hunters today) a life-affirming, reverent purpose. As Ortega y Gasset, Shepard, and others suggest, hunting developed as a uniquely transcendent act in which the animal was honored as fellow participant in the sacred “game” of life and death. As inevitable prey themselves, humans recognized the innate reciprocity, their double-sided participation in the hunter-hunted framework. Hunter-gatherers first developed their skills from observing the techniques of non-human predators. They honored as well as appropriated those skills. The hunt in tribal societies served as a communal, even spiritual ritual that was celebrated in tribal culture through mythic narrative, cave art depictions, and animal figures in ceremonial dance.

Paleoanthropologist Pat Shipman has recently offered another view of how animals contributed to human progress, including evolutionary milestones such as tool-making and language. The first tools, she notes, were designed to dismember the prey we caught – a strategy that meant more meat for the tribe and less for the larger predators that had a way of showing up just in time to enjoy the kill. Cave art and later language developments, she suggests, were developed to record and pass along the knowledge gained regarding animal behavior and characteristics as well as hunting strategies that proved successful.

Our natural affinity for animals, Shipman suggests, took a decidedly significant turn in the domestication process. Our interest in animals and the vast knowledge we had amassed allowed us to build relationships with animals and in turn use that relationship to train them (and later breed them) for our needs. We first domesticated dogs, who undoubtedly helped herd animals for our purposes. We domesticated other species to raise as livestock or help carry or move things we couldn’t with any ease. Domestication allowed us to free up our energy for other purposes.

Shipman theorizes that domestication was the next step in our species’ tool-making progress. In her words, animals became “living tools” for our use. With the advent of domestication, human potential grew exponentially. We were no longer limited to what our own strength and physical ability could accomplish.

For the record, not every thinker is starry-eyed over our leap to domestication. The large-scale domestication of animals, critics like Paul Shepard suggest, may have put us in closer contact with various species (as well as their deadly parasites and disease), but it fundamentally changed the human-animal bond. Quoting ethnoarcheologist Susan Kent, Shepard notes that in “‘groups without domestic animals, both human and non-human animals are viewed as having an intellect – that is, sentience, sociability, and intelligence.” Obviously, it’s a sentiment that dwindled past the Agricultural Revolution, although several recent publications take up the issue through the lens of contemporary research. Even our relationship to modern day pets, critics like Shepard suggest, bare little resemblance to the early domesticated dog-human relationships in pre-agricultural groups. We have infantilized our pets and bred them in such as way that supports a more dependent relationship. (He’s got me there.) Our hunter-gathering days with minimal domestication, Shepard maintains, offered a healthier means (physically and psychically) of simultaneously relating to animal life and gaining the best sustenance from it. Take from the debate what you will, I say.

Thanks for reading today. It’s always fun to take a different course now and then. Let me know what you think – comments, questions, pet pics, what have you. Have a great rest of the week, everyone. For my part, I’m off to play with Buddha.

Subscribe to the Newsletter

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

Leave a Reply

92 Comments on "The Human-Animal Connection"

avatar

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
shannon
shannon
5 years 5 months ago
I think modern urban people over-do the infantilization of their pets. In a city, a dog has to live in the house, or at least in the fenced-in yard. Thus, she has to be clean, and she has little opportunity to create her own independent social life with other dogs. This is not very healthy for dog or owner: the owner is EVERYTHING to the dog, her companion, her source of food, etc. The owner starts to live to take care of the dog, lets the dog get in the bed, etc. A much healthier human-dog relationship exists in rural… Read more »
Emily
Emily
5 years 5 months ago
Wow, I sure do hate the free roaming “pet” dogs that live in my neighborhood. They roam around killing small animals, chasing me when I try to go out on my horses, keeping people from walking down the roads because they will be pestered by mangy mutts. Not to mention that you have to drive very carefully to avoid hitting them. Personally I find my neighbors that do this to be slightly lacking in the smarts department, is hillbilly the right word? In this area there is no recourse to make these people behave and care for their animals responsibly… Read more »
Purple Reign
Purple Reign
5 years 5 months ago

I don’t mean to be a jerk, but I’m with Emily on this one. I’m not saying that this is the case all the time, but at least half the time, dogs that are allowed to roam as freely as this are a nuisance (of course, most of the time the demeanor is dependant upon the owner).

Gayle
Gayle
5 years 5 months ago
I’m also in agreement with Emily here. I’m a dog lover and live in a very rural area. Dogs that are allowed to roam free are a nuisance to others (humans and animals) and a danger to themselves. A dog caught harassing someone’s livestock or chasing deer in the woods is likely to be shot, even those actions may be instinctual. Living outside and roaming freely does not equate to a “healthy human-dog” relationship. My Boxer would die of exposure if left outside. Dogs have been domesticated to a degree. A well adjusted dog lives within boundaries (literal and figurative)… Read more »
Michelle
Michelle
5 years 5 months ago
I agree with Emily, and the truth is that the majority of rural pet owners do not bother/want to neuter or spay their animals. This creates more dogs running around, and more homeless animals who may not be able to survive on their own. I have a wonderful relationship with my dog Indie(a stray puppy starving to death in a rural area in Texas). I take him on long walks/runs and play fetch, and he is content to sit around and sleep the rest of the time. He seems much happier now than he was as a starving, fearful, rural… Read more »
ObligateCarnivore
ObligateCarnivore
5 years 5 months ago
I have to agree that from my experience in the animal/pet industry free roaming dogs tend to lack manners/training that are necessary to live in modern neighborhoods. In addition, the outside environment and/or dog pack certainly trumps the owner in terms of the dog’s allegiance. I don’t recommend allowing dogs to free roam. That being stated, I wish people’s expectations of their pets were more realistic. It is vital to their well being that we allow them to express natural behavior. Americans, especially, can go too far to the extreme in turning their pets into nothing more than live stuffed… Read more »
Emily
5 years 5 months ago

This different Emily would like to piggy back on the same sentiment. People who allow their cats to freely roam are contributing to the decline of wild birds. As if those poor feathered guys don’t have enough problems. Keep your cats inside, or at least in your own back yard (when you’re out with them!).

Jason
Jason
5 years 5 months ago
Emily, I’d argue that the population of wild birds is greater than it has ever been. Humans, which used to eat a fair number of those little buggers; now legally cannot kill a “songbird”. As for game birds: 30 years ago there were less than 500,000 snow geese, now there are more than 15,000,000 (1 of many similar population booms). Domesticated cats have not been decimating either population. When I was a child our cats were outside the majority of the time, and they certainly weren’t killing off the wild birds nearly as quickly as they were the chipmunks and… Read more »
Kara
Kara
4 years 5 months ago

Sorry Jason, but you’re totally wrong on this one. Domestic cats are one cause of the decline of songbirds, especially in places like the UK where most people allow their cats to roam freely. Domestic cats in the UK are estimated to kill 55 million birds a year. There are very few species of birds that are increasing their populations; Canada geese are an exception rather than a rule. So Emily is right – please keep your cats inside or under strict supervision.

Suvetar
Suvetar
5 years 5 months ago

I don’t hate free roaming dogs at all, even if mutts.
I do hate it though when they come and sh*t on my lawn!

Aaron (Grok Mendoza)
Aaron (Grok Mendoza)
5 years 5 months ago

I hate that too! How am I suppose to workout barefoot in my backyard when the dogg decides to drop his feces right on it!!

Caroline
Caroline
5 years 5 months ago

I live in a city and have a dog. She has her own couch by the window to watch the world go by, she gets nice walks around the neighborhood, she goes to the dog beach and frolics with other dogs. Not a bad life…I’m a little jealous in fact. 🙂

Barb
Barb
5 years 5 months ago
I have to agree with the others although the picture you paint is a nice one. Dogs roaming free (not all dogs- I’ll give ya that) are a danger not only to themselves and eachother but also to livestock and motorists. Cats roaming free- especially int he city drives me up the wall- aside fromt he songbird issue, diggin and crapping in people’s gardens and landscaping and darting across the road at dusk——man oh man I’ve had some close calls. Not just close to hitting the cats but also to hitting something else while trying to avoid hitting said cats.… Read more »
John
John
5 years 5 months ago

“man oh man I’ve had some close calls. Not just close to hitting the cats but also to hitting something else while trying to avoid hitting said cats.”

So in essence, *you’re* behavior is the problem.

charlotte
charlotte
3 years 8 months ago
When I was a young child (about 8 or so) I remember a free-roaming dog in my grandmother’s neighborhood who loved and played with all of the kids. She was very gentle and naturally protective of us all, herding us out of the street and things like that. To my horror, I once witnessed her being savagely beaten with a cane by an old man who had been walking some tiny purebred thing. She had approached them innocently and happily, to greet the new company, but he could only interpret her greeting as an unchained “stray” “attacking” his precious terrier.… Read more »
PJ
5 years 5 months ago

My best buddy is 14 pound chihuahua named Elvis. Here’s a recent picture of him doing what he does best. http://peejaymc.tumblr.com/post/4393417508/elvis-likes-to-beg-how-can-you-say-no-cuteness

Purple Reign
Purple Reign
5 years 5 months ago
My dogs are small, and I couldn’t imagine allowing them run around freely in my neighborhood, but how I miss living in the rural areas where my dogs could run around as they wished. I admit, that they don’t get enough animal interaction (although, when they do, they love it), but interaction with other humans is never a problem. In fact, if my wife and I have visitors, they visitors get more attention. In fact, one morning I couldn’t find one of my dogs and he turned out to be asleep, cuddled up next to my brother-in-law who was visiting… Read more »
Emily
5 years 5 months ago

I find animal companionship necessary for my emotional health. There’s no doubt that connecting with a [non-judgmental, as Mark put it] pet is therapeutic. However, I’m a cat person and my boyfriend (who I live with) is allergic, so I’m stuck with no pets. Sadly, a goldfish wouldn’t really fill the void.

Jeremy Priestner
5 years 5 months ago

I really like the idea that animals are to be honored as a sacred part of nature. It seems to me like, as humans, we take an anthropocentric view of the world far to often. We forget that we are animals too. We forget that we are only a small part of a much larger hierarchy of living creatures.

It makes me very upset to consider the harm we are doing to this hierarchy/ balance. Many species have gone extinct just over the past decade, and for what? A few new mini-malls?

Purple Reign
Purple Reign
5 years 5 months ago

True! One thing I don’t do enough is give thanks to God for providing a means of nourishment, and furthermore, remembering that an animal sacrificed itself for my health and the health of my family.

Brad
Brad
5 years 5 months ago

Not to be too picky, but that animal didn’t sacrifice itself. You killed it. I don’t have any problem with hunting for food, as it’s the way nature works, but the animal wanted to live, just as you do.

Alex
Alex
5 years 5 months ago

If you’re blind,heard sheep or work for the DEA dogs are great and useful. If you have to live with people that have dogs for no reason other than to have something cute depend on them, then dogs are assholes that bark ,shed and beg for scraps.

I like dogs but only if they’re not mine and I don’t have to live with them.

Mel
5 years 5 months ago
I have lots of pets (I think as a vet student, it’s a prerequisite). That being said, although each pet is a valued companion and contributes to my mental and physical health (hard to turn down a run when there are pups and ponies begging to be taken for an outing), I think that it’s important to for each pet to have a “job”. Although being a companion was a nice side affect of the evolutionary/domestication process, they were initially domesticated to HAVE a job, and for the DOG’s (or Horse, or anyother commonly accepted domestic “pet”), I believe that… Read more »
Jesselyn
Jesselyn
5 years 5 months ago

-The most intelligent dog I ever had was a collie named “Boo Boo”. (There will never be another). An intelligent, well trained dog knows where they are, and are not welcome. Then you have your poor little “mutts”…you could kick them, and they will still come back. (Pigs are smarter than dogs). Green Acres is the place for me. lol.

Nomad1
Nomad1
5 years 5 months ago

My relationship with animals is such a contradiction to me. I love my dogs (I have a Buddha of my own) like they are my kids and I have always been really drawn to animals-that led me to being vegetarian. So when that didn’t work out for my health, it has really messed with my head going back to eating meat. My body feels better, but my mind is poking along at it and gets me in trouble.

Uncephalized
Uncephalized
5 years 5 months ago
I hope you come to your own peace over this. I wrestled with the ethicality of eating animals for a while but just couldn’t handle vegetarianism for even a short time. It was far too counter to my psychological and physical needs. For me the important thing is to realize that I am really an obligate carnivore if I want to be at my best. I am thankful for the animals I am able to eat while still being sorry they had to die to feed me. I am really interested in learning to bow-hunt large game–the idea of really… Read more »
Michelle
5 years 5 months ago

I was vegetarian for four years as a way to boycott CAFOs but now I just make sure to buy meat that had the best life it could. No CAFO meat, but grass-fed, pastured, etc. And since my dog and cat both love meat, I make sure to give them some, too. I no longer equate eating beef with eating my dog, and it’s something we can share together. He’s happy and healthy, and so am I.

Sarah
Sarah
5 years 5 months ago

I don’t have pets, but I do raise pastured chickens and lambs. I thoroughly enjoy them, but when it’s slaughter day, they have to be slaughtered. I give them the best, happiest life that I can and then enjoy them from my freezer, grateful for each of them.

Brad
Brad
5 years 5 months ago
Think of the sea. Practically everything in it must kill something else in order to survive. We don’t like the fact that animals can be happy, and feel pain and make us happy, coupled with the fact that we need to eat some of them. But that’s just the way nature works. Something has to die so that you can live. You shouldn’t feel any more guilty than a lion does. Though I do think we owe it to the animals we eat to give them a full life to a nice relatively old age before we eat them, and… Read more »
Greg
Greg
5 years 5 months ago
Nice post Mark and a topic not often discussed. I connected with this post on 2 levels. One being an avid hunter and one who just carried out a successful spring turkey hunt (can anyone say Primal Wild Turkey Tortilla-less Fajitas??) I intimately understand the bond between predator and prey. It requires a living sacrifice in order for us to live another day. Our neolithic lives have separated us from that fact. I personally thank God for each animal he provides my family and I. I have been well blessed this year. I am also grateful for the animals ultimate… Read more »
Mel
5 years 5 months ago
I actually just switched my cat over to a grainfree diet. It will be interesting to see what happens. I agree with you about letting animals be animals. Yes, they aren’t allowed to jump on furniture and do whatever the hell they want…..BUT they aren’t my children and should be allowed to engage in innate behaviors and have an accpetable outlet for them. I think some people let their “sensibilities” get in the away of letting their dogs do this in little ways, that ahve a great effect on the animals psychology in general. For example – my SO doesn’t… Read more »
Tamara
Tamara
5 years 5 months ago
Living in the country in the past, meant always having cats and at least a dog. Also meant many strays wandering in and some nt healthy or territorial ( like killing my cats or attacking my dogs) those were usually put down or run off. But it also meant fewer rodents in our house and the bird populations in our trees never dwindled with the cats even keptthe grackles at bay. We often found our local o be the abandonment zone for cats and dogs. So many people abandon cats to the outdoors when the poor cat was never raised… Read more »
Tim
Tim
5 years 5 months ago
One thing I hate about the modern domestication of animals is when people get their cats declawed. I think it’s unnatural and cruel. Would you (people who have declawed their cats) like someone to pull out your finger nails so that they never grow back? And not give you a choice in the matter? I imagine it would be worse for a cat since they naturally use their claws a lot more than we use our finger nails. If you’re worried about cats scratching up your furniture, don’t get any cats! I’ve had plenty of cats, 3 at the moment,… Read more »
bbuddha
bbuddha
5 years 5 months ago
I agree, it is totally cruel to declaw a cat. You can teach them not to claw furniture. Most of my cats have had an opportunity to go outside (they were spayed) and hunt so they had an outlet for their “itch” to scratch. My last cat I had to keep inside, my street was too dangerous. I gave him appropriate things to scratch and kept him from ruining the furniture. He was a great pal, he was siamese and I swear he could talk. Like one of the previous posters I’m catless now as my SO is violently allergic.
Brad
Brad
5 years 5 months ago

Yeah, it’s wrong to deprive creatures of normal body parts – declawing, wing-clipping, circumcision, cutting off dog tails.

It’s all wrong. I want to own a bird, like a lovebird, or caique, but I would feel horrible keeping them caged up most of the time. I think any bird that can’t fly freely is suffering.

WolfGirl
WolfGirl
5 years 5 months ago

Totally agree about declawing… but did you know they don’t actually pull out the claw? They amputate at the first knuckle. So, your kitty has basically 2/3rds of a toe. Leads to many problems.

Jesselyn
Jesselyn
5 years 5 months ago

-had a thought…lol…If you are eating more intelligent animals, would that make you smarter? (Maybe I should lay off of the chickens???) lol.

Annie
Annie
5 years 5 months ago

Seriously?

Suzan
5 years 5 months ago

Nice post, Mark. I love my two dogs. People may scoff because they’re small, but they are the best canine companions we’ve ever had. I can’t imagine living without dogs. They bring so much joy and comfort to our lives.

Karin
Karin
5 years 5 months ago
I grew up on a farm. When I was 6 I helped with the first chicken ‘culling’. We had a number of livestock animals – pigs, chickens, ducks, geese, rabbits, sheep. They weren’t our pets. They were food. They were always treated humanely, with respect and dignity. We met someone not so long ago who acquired a dog for his daughter, who is going blind. His demeanor to the dog was indifference. His belief was that dogs (and all other animals) do not have a soul, do not have feelings, cannot think, have no memories, etc. He was not a… Read more »
Suvetar
Suvetar
5 years 5 months ago
I totally agree with “lacking in their understanding of the natural world”. I’ve never understood people, yet nobody has taught me a thing about dogs but I can read them like a book. They DO feel, and THINK, and react emotionally. My dog dropped his favorite toy down a deep ditch and the face he made while it happened was clearly ” Oh f…I can’t believe I dropped it.” I climbed down and rescued his toy…he was so excited while I climbed down and SOOO freakin happy when he had it back. I could really feel his appreciation for what… Read more »
Tanya
Tanya
5 years 5 months ago
About 11 years ago, I saw an article in a newspaper in Gallup, NM. I didn’t get a chance to read the whole article, but I got the basics in my head and they never left – the wolf domesticated itself and adapted to us by choice. Here is an article that reaffirms that: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/dog-evolution-did-the-wolf-tame-itself-to-evolve-into-the-domestic-dog.html Not a bad argument. I think a lot of our hierarchical social structure is very similar to wolf social structure, so it makes perfect sense that humans may have observed this structure in wild wolves and subsequently adapted it to their own society. I live… Read more »
Johnny Palmer
5 years 5 months ago

Animals have entirely become “living tools” whether to eat, ride, play with, hunt for us, accompany us, clean up after us… You make me think too much Mark.

Robin
Robin
5 years 5 months ago
I have a small dog with a big attitude! I find especially with small dogs that you can pick up, people ave a tendency to coddle them. I do love my Echo like a child and let her sleep on the bed but when we go for a hike or climb a mountain she is like a wild dog running and swimming in streams and chasing small animals, even deer, although what she thinks she’s going to do with a deer if she ever caught one I don’t know! And she can run up and down the mountain 3 times… Read more »
juliemama
juliemama
5 years 5 months ago

I just lost my 10 yr old English
Bulldog, Koko. Sigh. She always preferred a nice nap or a leisurely roll in the grass, to actual exercise. But that dog was loyal to the bone, and loved the kids that came after her. My kitty turns 17 in a few weeks…
Not only do I think that children have an affinity for animals,but animals instinctively know when they are dealing with “little people”…

anamaria
anamaria
5 years 5 months ago

It’s true! 10,000 years ago, when it’s theorized that humans crossed the land bridge (there was a brief window of time when the glacier path opened and the bridge was still there), they came with dogs. And the megafauna like giant beavers and mastodons that lived in North America went extinct over the next few centuries as humans hunted them– they couldn’t have done it without dogs.

Suvetar
Suvetar
5 years 5 months ago

I hate people.
My husband and I decided to not have kids and just adopt pets in need.

It’s been very full filling mentally. We live in a neighborhood where every household has 3+ kids. Nobody else has dogs…all the kids end up on my drive way and front lawn playing with my 4 dogs ..and their bikes and toys are left along the side walk…LOL.

They borrow my dogs, I borrow their kids…everybody is happy:)

julietx
julietx
5 years 5 months ago

It doesn’t sound like you really hate people, lol. Sounds like you get along with people pretty well. Good for you.

Annie
Annie
5 years 5 months ago

Kids are people too…just smaller, so don’t hate on them.

Sam
5 years 5 months ago

I have dogs and horses. Too many of both lol. But they keep me sane and I think they are in my life for a reason and I am in theirs for a reason. I do my best to provide the best care and environment possible for them. Those are my pet/relationship animals. We also buy and fatten sheep and pigs for eating, but they don’t get names, although they do get cared for just as well as the rest and offered respect as living creatures we have chosen to pen up for our own use.

Jill
Jill
5 years 5 months ago

As far as I’m concerned, when it gets down to it, I agree that today’s modern setup (especially cities!) makes it very difficult for animals to maintain their “working” status at times and are too dependent on their owners. However, even more importantly, there are still far too many people out there who don’t appreciate animals for what they are. So if owners sometimes “coddle” too much, so be it. Too much love and caring is a helluva lot better than careless, cruel, irresponsible treatment of animals who can’t always just pick up and leave.

Izzie
Izzie
5 years 5 months ago
I think companionship is as important for pets as it is for us. I can’t say I’ve seen pampered, well-fed, domesticated pets and thought that they really seemed miserable being so comfortable and cared for. Whereas if you go to a shelter or pet store, the animals who haven’t yet found their homes seem sad and lost. I think there’s been an evolutionary shift for pets as well as for us. They’re in individuation mode. Once brought into a home and freed of the constant need to scavenge for food and survive, they’re able to individuate and develop personalities. If… Read more »
Julian
Julian
5 years 5 months ago
Allergic to cats and dogs. Was willing to endure a dog for my wife and kids, but when it became just me cleaning after and feeding it I give it to my wife’s friend. Domesticated animals become burdensome for owners. Friends have left parties to walk the dog or had issues with travel because they had no place to house the pet. Too much for me. I like the idea of a big dog to bond and loaf around, but until my kids are older and can take care of it, I don’t think we’ll have a family dog, soon.… Read more »
Rachel
Rachel
5 years 5 months ago
Ah yes, the “I have to leave to go take care of the dog” excuse. I have used that many times, always when I wanted to go, because I preferred her company to whoever was at the party 🙂 On a more general note, my dog has been my best friend for 12 years now. I think I am somewhat less guilty of over-domestication than some because she spent several years living with me on a farm and still gets to go out to the barn with me every day, and hiking every week. (Apparently horse poop is a key… Read more »
Annie
Annie
5 years 5 months ago

Owning a pet is a commitment by the WHOLE family. Giving up and giving away a pet so fast is a real lost of a life lesson of responsibility that your children will no longer experience because of your stubborness and anger.

Julian
Julian
5 years 5 months ago

Stubborness, anger, and…oh…allergies, too. My kids were two and three at the time. Also, that joker didn’t respect nap time either. The yelping!

I get it. You love them. I do, too, which is I why I said I’d reconsider an allergic reaction (is Benadryl primal?) so my kids could experience that life lesson of enslaving another life for my pleasure…just kidding…sort of.

Alex Good
Alex Good
5 years 5 months ago

So if I talk to my dog, telling it stories and such, does it mean I’m mentally more like a caveman? Because I’ve been trying to teach Odysseus history.
He’s already learned etiquette.

Matt
Matt
5 years 5 months ago

One of the most relaxing things I do is to sit with my parent’s herd of goats in the pasture. Did this on a warm February day this year and they just lay down next to me. And then just grunt as they were all very pregnant. I haven’t been back to the farm since and need an animal fix soon. In an apartment so no dog. Can’t wait to finish up here and move someplace where I can get a canine companion!

Primal Toad
5 years 5 months ago

I don’t know what I would do without my one-eyed Boston Terrier. Ive spent most of my life owning a dog. It sure will be different without one. This will be the case in just a couple of months.

Dogs are great pets. But, what does everyone think of birds? I mean, birds are supposed to FLY! A bird that lives in a cage can’t fly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

fritzy
fritzy
5 years 5 months ago
Toad– I knew a guy who owned a parakeet that he took everywhere with him. No cage, no leash of any kind. The bird was imprinted on him and wouldn’t go more than a few feet away from him. It was entirely free to fly and would do so when this guy road his motorcycle–it would fly right next to his head! It was free to leave at any time but chose to stay with his owner. I guess he looked at his owner as his “flock” (not sure if parakeets live in flocks in nature.) I would say that’s… Read more »
Julian
Julian
5 years 5 months ago

That’s cool. Did this guy wear an eye patch and speak with Shakepearean flair? I would and overuse the term “aye” when possible.

LM
LM
5 years 5 months ago
I like animals (and animals like me), but I’m neutral-to-negative on the subject of pets, especially pets as baby replacements (which is what they are in most American households). I don’t think it’s healthy for the pet or the owner. Animals need to have their own lives, just like any other living creature – they shouldn’t spend their lives as living teddy bears with nothing to do, no companions of their own species, no family of their own, no “pack” of their own, and no role in life except that of teddybear. It’s a very unnatural existence. Yes, humans domesticated… Read more »
Annie
Annie
5 years 5 months ago

People are social animals and need other people, much like animals. The human family is their pack. It’s unfair for you to generalize that pets are baby replacements, which they are not; nor, or they “teddy bears”.

LM
LM
5 years 5 months ago
Um, I’m not sure what you meant by the first two sentences of your comment. Yes, people are social animals and need other people. Now imagine that you are all alone, almost from birth onward, surrounded by animals of a different species that you only partly understand. You never see other members of your own species, you never experience the natural world in a way that you yearn to do, you never have a family or raise your own children. Is that a life you’d want to live? This is what your dog is living. Dogs are social animals, meaning… Read more »
Debs
Debs
5 years 5 months ago
The thing I love about Rupert my cat is that he’s a complete mirror for my emotions and behaviours. When I’m stressed or worried, so is he. When I’m feeling good, he has a glint in his eye and is chucking a toy mouse around the room. So it’s just like having my own personal therapist in the house, although possibly cheaper, more fun and nicer to stroke! I love watching Cesar Millan for the very same reason; to watch people transforming their own behaviour, which is then mirrored in their dogs (I love the amazement on people’s faces when… Read more »
DFH
5 years 5 months ago

Cool article.

Pets are awesome.

I could go to a zoo every day.

Lori
5 years 5 months ago

I guess I’m guilty of thinking of my dog as a big teddy bear. She sleeps on the bed, hangs out in the house listening to music, eats a primal diet, gets petted a lot, and runs on the treadmill when I get home. She can go out the doggie door to the back yard, but usually stays inside. What kind of life is that for an animal? A better one than she had at the dog pound.

jenny
jenny
5 years 5 months ago

great post…

my dog is actually who started me on the paleo path. i just was so impressed with his ability to go from dead sleep to full sprint and back again.

also, i don’t know how many of you have seen the documentary BABIES but i highly recommend it just to watch A) the incredible contentedness of the baby raised closest to our ancestral past and B) the moment that she interacts with a dog on its terms. it’s like the best three seconds of the documentary!

Jeanna
5 years 5 months ago

If it was up to me, I would have rolling fields of land and 700 dogs. Dogs make me very happy and content. But I also agree, they need more outdoors… just like we do. They don’t want to be caged up all day or crated in their houses… they want to be sniffing, and digging, and eating gross things that only dogs can eat.

Steve
5 years 5 months ago

I used to have a phobia of dogs, now I can’t wait till the day I own one, there’s something deep within me that would tells me I would benefit far more from a dog than a big tv even though the former is less affordable.

Gary Deagle
5 years 5 months ago

I have never had a pet, yet my fiance is a huge dog lover and grew up with them. We debate over the topic of getting one because I do not see the point and look at it as more responsibility.

She will eventually get her way and I am sure once I experience it I will share most peoples love for their pets.

Alykhan
5 years 5 months ago

Mark,

I agree pets are great companions. My family has a lab retriever as well and we all enjoy being around him and taking him for walks. With all the hassles of modern society, spending time with pets can be a good stress reliever.

Alykhan

trackback

[…] The Human-Animal Connection – Mark’s Daily Apple (This is for you JR) […]

Dana
5 years 5 months ago
My best friend leads a wonderful example of one who has understood the relationship of her dogs to herself, and has trained them to the point of appearing that she has “jedi mind control” over them. It’s really quite remarkable how much they know and they obey her every word, well most of the time. Occassionally they’ll be distracted, but she is always quick to reaffirm what she wants. She lives in a rural area and often walks her dogs without a leash. It’s amazing to watch as they’re several hundred feet away sniffing and running and playing where they… Read more »
Alliecat
Alliecat
5 years 5 months ago
I believe there is a very strong, innate, bond between animals and humans – wild and domesticated. I also believe that some people are more in tune to that connection than others, more primal maybe. I grew up without pets until after my 15th birthday. Yet somehow I had always been drawn to animals in spite of it… Animal books, shows, other people’s animals – barnyard and pets. As a child I would ask friends and neighbors if I could walk their dogs and/or feed them. Most animals were drawn to me immediately too. To this day, my parents have… Read more »
Brad
Brad
5 years 5 months ago
My college roommate had a pet dog that was fiercely loyal to him. She often slept with him, and if you opened the door while he was sleeping she would growl, no matter how much she liked you at any other time. You were NOT to enter that room. One time, when my roommate had been spending lots of time away, because he just had a new girlfriend, I came home, and the dog was pissed off with me. She was doing the thing then the sides of her mouth curl up and more teeth show – the things dogs… Read more »
Cristy
5 years 5 months ago
Interesting discussion – funny to me how in a group of animal eaters the talk centers mostly around dog and cats. I’ve got a nine year old (human child) and eleven year old (same) who are learning about animals as food. My daughter has her first 4h steer ( yes, we’re feeding this one grain. We’ve done the grass fat thing – this is … well – a story for another time.) My son raises chickens for eggs to sell as another 4h project. It’s been transforming (and difficult!) to watch and help my kids understand that we can indeed… Read more »
trackback
5 years 5 months ago

[…] animals and buying delicious animals promotes their production), but that doesn’t mean I don’t care about their welfare while alive. I’ve been to grassland farms with families of cattle ranging, and if you get to […]

trackback

[…] for Human Animal ConnectionWhat Do We Feed to Food-Production Animals? A Review of Animal …The Human-Animal Connection | Mark’s Daily AppleAnimals VS Humans.com – VideoHow will humans around wild animals be safer if animals are not […]

trackback

[…] for Human Animal ConnectionWhat Do We Feed to Food-Production Animals? A Review of Animal …The Human-Animal Connection | Mark’s Daily AppleAnimals VS Humans.com – VideoAnimal Suicide Sheds Light on Human Behavior : Discovery […]

trackback

[…] Pet Deficient In A Key Nutrient?Holistic and Natural Pet Food and Pet Care in Charlottesville VAThe Human-Animal Connection | Mark’s Daily AppleAnimal Cruelty and Human Violence – The Connection: Preventing …The Abuse Connection […]

trackback

[…] for Human Animal ConnectionWhat Do We Feed to Food-Production Animals? A Review of Animal …The Human-Animal Connection | Mark’s Daily AppleAnimals VS Humans.com – VideoAmazon.com: Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for […]

trackback

[…] Cat – Discover the Right Cat Care …Should Animals Have the Same Rights as People?The Human-Animal Connection | Mark’s Daily ApplePets & Animals – How To Information | eHow.comThe animal rights radicals may have […]

trackback

[…] The Human-Animal Connection — Mark's Daily Apple […]

Sarasota Pet Sitting
4 years 10 months ago

Wow, awesome blog format! How lengthy have you ever been running a blog for? you make blogging look easy. The entire glance of your site is great, as well as the content!

wpDiscuz