Get The Love You Want — Love Your Cat Or Dog
If you have ever gone to a movie, you know people are looking for love. Even major block busters usually have some love interest involved; it’s not just Romcoms.
Most people don’t live in Romantic comedies. And modern life has gotten so absurd and alienating at times, that even comedy seems to depend upon whether you see your president as a clown, or you see progressives as comedic, what with all the sensitive snowflakes melting into convulsions when they don’t get their trigger warnings.
Or, maybe, if you are paying attention, you see more horror than comedy. Where love is defined as compassion, you may see love lost, and people more divided by ideology than united by it. People are obsessed with other people, we’re programed that way. So we splash the prettiest among us upon the viewscreen — a reflection of our own imperfection and a display of our own person-centered focus.
You may not see love for animals as well represented on our ever-glowing screens, But, whereas very few of us will dance with Ryan Gosling or make out with Scarlett Johansson, many, many people will have a dog or cat in their lives at some point. Let’s work with that. Find some love.
Our pets romp around on that area of our hearts where everyone agrees. Pets are amazing. Pets are wonderful. Pets are entertaining. A pet could save your life. Fluffy may wake you up since you disconnected that annoying smoke alarm. Or Max may sniff out your tumor before your physician does. Pets, are indeed a balm for the spirit, albeit one that sometimes comes in a hairball of cat vomit, or doggy drool on your favorite robe.
Human beings have strange relations with animals. We can get lost in the hypnotic world of funny cat videos. Yet, we scold each other about catty behavior. We have the image of the loyal golden retriever, or collie, as the iconic American hero, yet we may call someone we disagree with a dog, (or a bitch). We love animals. We hate animals.
We disconnect emotionally with those we eat. (before you judge those who eat cats and dogs, reflect that many people eat pigs, cows and chickens, among other creatures, that can also feel pain and benefit from love). In this way, we judge animals as inferior beings. We often hear of brutal or savage behavior as behaving “no better than animals” as if it were animals that kill us every day rather then that it is we who kill them. We attack those we would insult by telling them they are no better than animals as if animals are even more destructive than the human race.
Culturally we denigrate animals. We see the person who has no romantic human companion as pathetic. We make fun of cat ladies and dudes with cute puppies out to meet chicks.
Pets deserve better than this. Animals, in general, deserve better than this.
Here is a partial list of what our pets do for people. Dogs sniff our bombs and dangerous drugs. They track criminals. They are companions to those with disabilities. Dogs and cats give their lives in labs for the sake of health and beauty products, and medical treatments. By stroking a cat or dog, you can lower blood pressure, reduce stress, decrease cortisol, experience joy and laughter, and inspire both playfulness and courage.
Taking your dog out for a walk opens up worlds that fictional movies cannot open. Spending some time playing with your cat will allow you to shed stress of the day like dander.
We need to do a better job at loving animals if we want to open our hearts and minds to our own species. Not, just animals, of course, but seeking out connection to the entire biosphere so that we love, honor and wish to protect life — including our own lives.
Most of the science research with cats and dogs seeks to discover millions of ways for we human beings to benefit from their use. But there is also plenty of research that shows their company is just as vital to our mental states and emotions.
Consciousness, and emotion, did not burst upon the scene with the first australopithecines. No, all living organisms are in some stage of what we might call awareness. There is no sharp defining line that makes humankind the superior creation. In fact, some people would argue that an animal that fouls its own nest is not all that smart after all.
Our pets have emotional intelligence and it is something from which we all can learn.
Go to your local shelter and volunteer to walk a dog or foster a cat, if you ever have a need to recover from a messy world. You can make a difference in someone’s life, maybe even your own.