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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Whoa, this is interesting:

A recent study by Ottawa researchers showed that people who live alone and have a dog do not feel less lonely than those without dogs. This contradicts a long-held myth that our canine companions offer an escape from our solitude. People with dogs and a lack of a good social circle did not feel less lonely than those living similarly and without a canine friend. You can read the entire article HERE but I just had to quote a paragraph from the Montreal Gazette article:

People with limited community connections, for example, were more likely to humanize their dog - and those who engaged in this type of anthropomorphism were more depressed, visited the doctor more often and took more medications. Pychyl [author of the study] suggests this is because people who treat their pets like family will go out of their way to nurture the relationship, often at the expense of their personal lives.

This undermines the notion that lonely or depressed people should have dogs. The greater picture is a need for us to connect with those around us of the same species: Homo sapiens. Anthropomorphic behaviour includes, but not limited to: walking dogs in strollers, calling our pets "little people" or our "children," and yoga for dogs, to name just a few. Anthropomorphic behaviour is dangerous: for the dogs, for the cats in crazy-cat-lady-homes, and for us (including the crazy cat lady). They'll be no political correctness here.

Psychological health and a strong feeling of community must involve, at least in great part, playing this game.


Angus said...

I bet this post elicits some strong responses one way or another ! Happy Easter.

GoLightly said...

I don't see why, that makes perfect sense.

Many hermits love their critters like no other, and many use animals instead of people for companionship. It's the balance we need to bring back. Very true, Doc.
Very true.

Community? Fracturing into us's and them's.
People do indeed, need people.
A little kindness.

Struggling with this right now, Doc, so...
Wish me luck.

Martha said...

I heard a new term (for me) the other day
It comes down to social fragmentation,isolation, loss of family ties and traditions.
Pets have replaced family,friends and neighbours that we could count on when we needed that hug or "cup of sugar".
It's harder to trust and give actual time and friendship. We are scared of being rejected or being sucked into a relationship that's draining.
The pets we have will give to us without asking too much in return.
It's the easy way out for us humans.
I am giving a ton of thought to this.

I am guilty.

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GoLightly said...

Do you mind if I hiJack, Doc? Just delete, if you don't want to post it, I'll understand. This post you have up is an important one.

The Humane Laws, and why they drive me crazy. My neighbour has a TB Stallion in her garage. Check my blog for full story/updates, but suffice it to say, he needs help, and it may not happen in a timely fashion, for the horse. Neighbour likes to keeps animal in that amorphous "borderline" state.
Has food, water, shelter. That's about it. Cleanliness, turn-out, fresh air, no, not part of being humane. That is inhumane. That is what's missing from those laws. Animals must have enrichment & Cleanliness!!! How long will it take for that kind old gentleman,with his infinite patience, as he stands, and cribs and cribs and cribs and cribs. Paces his justenough perimeter. Gazes out the screenless sunny window. Wishes for horses. Wishes for his old life back, soft grass underfoot, after training/racing for almost half his life. Now on concrete, and a thin layer of filthy straw, 23.75/24. She'll have it half-arsed clean for the OSPCA if/when they show up again. She'll "procure" her next bale of straw. I've called several more times. What else can I do? Part of the helplessly angry world, that's me? Why can't OSPCA do more? More quickly, so the animal doesn't get hurt or worse? Why is Dire Straits the only actionable offense? No idea. But it's wrong, wrong, wrong.

I tried to put this on Facebook, but it's toooo long. I'm extremely annoyed, I needed to share. Thanks.

Dr V said...

Animals can't tell us if and when we're full of you-know-what, that's why it's so easy to call them "family" and "best friend" :-)