Hello there. Who's this? Is this not the most adorable thing you've ever seen? Don't you just want to ask him if he's a good boy and give him all the dog treats that he deserves? Well, if you don't, maybe you're crazy. Or maybe you can blame your genetics.
Are you not screaming over how cute this little kitten is? Do you not want to cuddle her for hours on end? First of all, we might not be able to be friends. But it's possible we actually can't blame you, after all.
First of all, as many of us know, having an animal in your home has been proven to have many health benefits and help to alleviate depression. Not only that, but they can provide you with companionship. People who own animals, it seems, are overall just happier individuals. But why do you want to cuddle your dog into oblivion while others could care less?
One reason may be that children have the desire to emulate their parents. If your parents had pets, then you're more likely to want to own them as well when you move out. On the other hand, if your home was animal free, then you might have less of a desire to own them as well.
Do you want to pet this ball of fluff until the end of time? Or would you be okay to just look from afar? The answer to why is encoded in our DNA, and it goes way, way back to our ancestors. We're talking thousands of years.
Some people are more genetically predisposed to seek out the companionship of animals. It depends on our ancestors. Those that had to rely on hunting animals for their source of food, naturally, would have been less likely to keep them as pets instead of, well, eating them.
It makes sense that if you were starving and a fluffy bunny was the only thing around to eat, you'd eat it, right? Yep. Sad as that might be, that's the way it was years ago. Those people probably wouldn't keep pets, considering they wouldn't want to grow close to the thing they were about to eat for dinner.
So, the people whose ancestors relied heavily on hunting are less likely to love animals than the crazy cat people of the world. Then there were the people, like farmers, who used animals for other reasons. Obviously these people were going to eat some of the animals - sorry - but there were other reasons to connect with their animal companions.
It was important for farmers to keep domestic animals for herding sheep or protecting their homes. Naturally, they grew to have relationships with these animals, and were therefore more likely to have a growing rapport with their furry friends. Do you love dogs more than anyone in the whole world? You ancestors may have been farmers.
"Groups which included people with empathy for animals and an understanding of animal husbandry would have flourished at the expense of those without, who would have had to continue to rely on hunting to obtain meat," wrote John Bradshaw, the author of In Defence Of Dogs. In case you didn't get that, he's basically reiterating that those who had to rely on animals for their source of food were not going to bond with them as much.
"Why doesn’t everyone feel the same way? Probably because at some point in history the alternative strategies of stealing domestic animals or enslaving their human carers became viable," Bradshaw continues. Just because your ancestors may not have had a certain relationship with animals doesn't necessarily mean you will or will not, but it does explain those crazy people who wouldn't give an arm and a leg to visit these golden retriever pups.
If you had a useful cat around the farm who helped out your rat problem, chances are you're going to grow to like cats a lot more. And your dog chased away those hooligans who keep stealing your watermelons? Those are some good dogs and cats. We'll let them stay for a while.
"The very same genes that today predispose some people to take on their first cat or dog would have spread among those early farmers," says Bradshaw. Thank you, farmers, for the cats and dogs we have today. Even the ones that chew up our sandals.
Would you go crazy without a pet to lighten up your life? Then chances are that you are more in tune with nature, and more concerned for the natural world than those who don't mind a home without a critter companion. Those who had a more positive interaction with pets identify with nature on a deeper level than those who don't, according to a study done in 2017 in Montreal.
Sure, you'd say dogs are better than people. But some people really, really think that. In a study, 40% of people even went so far as to say they would rescue a dog over a foreign stranger. Their ancestors must have been farmers, too.