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Published in Pug Talk Magazine, Jan/Feb 2010

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Here are some fun facts about how we as humans have grown and evolved and
Embraced our pets!

The Human Animal Bond**
    The American Veterinary Medical Association’s Definition:
    “A mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and other
    animals that is influenced by behaviors that are essential to the health and well-
    being of both.  This includes but is not limited to, emotional, psychological, and
    physical interactions of people, other animals, and the environment.

History of the Human-Animal Bond**
    •        The human-canine bond is one of the oldest relationships.
    •        Domestication of dogs dates back to over 12,000 years ago.
    •        Canines transitioned from working companion to pet sometime between  
             600 to 1300 AD.
    •        Evidence of human-feline bonds dates back to 9,500 years ago.
    •        Farm animals became domesticated approximately 10,000 years ago.

Family Pets = Family Members**
    •        Children are more likely to have pets than siblings or fathers
            (Melson, 2001)
    •        More than 75% of owners say their dog’s health is as important to them
            as their own (Pfizer Animal Health/Gallup survey)
    •        57% would prefer their pet as their only companion if they were stranded
            on a desert island (2001 APPMA pet owner survey)
    •        52% are better at remembering the names of neighbor’s pets than human
            neighbors (2001 AAHA survey)
    •        A scientifically established link exists between how people treat animals
            and how they treat each other

Alan Beck wrote:
It is the "loving devotion, the soft touch, the  constant companionship and the attentive
eye, and the uncritical ear of the pet" that is so attractive to many of us. Pets are
uncritically accepting, give love completely and openly, and are loyal at all times under
all circumstances. The affection provided by an animal is simple, unconditional, and
uncomplicated. Pets are playmates for persons of any age group, provide the security
of companionship and are frequently a confidant. These comforting and healing
qualities enable animals to be facilitators in therapy   (Cornell Companions).**

Animals and Disasters**
    •        A sense of personal responsibility to those entrusted to our care is a
            hallmark of emotionally and ethically mature human beings.
    •        Owners are loyal to the animals they love, and will risk personal injury to
             protect them.
    •        Studies indicate that pet-owning households are significantly less likely to
             evacuate during mandatory orders than households without pets; the
             more pets, the less likely household will evacuate. (AJE 2001 153:659-665)

Animals and People During Disasters-- Evacuation Phase**
    •        Pets may be the only daily companions for elderly and special needs
            populations, and occupy the role of physical and emotional care-givers for
            these people.
    •        Leaving animals behind during routine evacuations creates stress and
            anxiety for pet owners and family members.
    •        Mandatory evacuations that do not include provisions for pets may cause:
    •        resistance and conflict between rescuers and evacuees,
    •        acute emotional distress for pet owners (separation anxiety, guilt, feelings
             of wrongful loss and powerlessness).
    •        Therefore, joint owner-pet evacuations should be facilitated to the extent  

Protecting those we love = empowerment**
    •        Pet owners and rescue groups feel an acute sense of urgency about
            getting animals out of harm’s way.
    •        Rescuing and sheltering evacuated animals provides a sense of
            competency, empowerment, and recovery in the face of disaster.
    •        Being prevented from rescuing and caring for animals can generate
            intense frustration and resentment.

Rescuing Pets is Normal**
Rescuing and caring for animals are normalizing experiences for people who have
suffered loss and displacement.

Main Sources for this Article:

* www.embracement.org: Senior Lecturer: Anglia Ruskin University – Chelmsford UK,
Ambra Burls R.M.N. , CPN, BSc(Hons), PGCE, MA, TSOLW, MALT, NMC Registered


Donald and Sara Hassler are co-authors of the award-winning children’s book, Loving
, and reside in Connecticut with Marley and Belle the real-life inspiration for the
PugTale Adventures storybooks
www.lovingmarley.com.  The Hasslers are active
members of the press through the Dog Writers Association of America.  For more
information visit them online at

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