Thursday, 8 March 2012

Can we really be friends with animals?

Animals have long held a special place in the hearts of humans. Throughout history, animals have played a unique part in people’s way of life be it in Ancient Egypt and Rome where animals held religious significance or our present world where people bequeath millions to their pets.

The strength of man’s feeling for his ‘best friend’ can be seen in the extraordinary lengths he goes to to protect him/her.

In February, a man in Essex, UK crawled over a frozen river just in his underpants to rescue his trapped dog. Of course, the firefighters didn’t find his reckless exploit funny.

In the same month, a woman in Melbourne, Australia spent three hours stuck in the quagmire as she comforted her horse which sank into a pit of mud as she was riding it.

It is indisputable that people become attached to their pets and even, in some cases, treat them better than humans. But can the friendship be mutual? If not, why has man insisted on creating and building relationships with animals?

Do you have/have you had an animal(s)? What kind of relationship do you/did you have?


  1. No doubt humans have, over centuries, built close, mutual relationships with animals. This human-animal affinity has been the subject of many studies, which sought to define the dynamics of such a bond. I had a dog,Snowy, growing up, and it was wonderful how whenever I left the house, he would follow me to the gate. When I came back, there he would be, wagging his tail.We would spend hours playing in the park or going for a walk.I never fed him anything I wouldn't eat myself.Needless to say,I loved this dog and took him as part of the family. When he went missing one day,I got sick with worry and I spent the next few hours searching for him. I later found him lying dead by the side of the road. He had been struck down by a vehicle. Some people did not understand why I cried over him or why I picked up his bloodied, lifeless body and took it home.I felt he deserved a proper resting place. My friend was gone and I couldn't eat dinner that night because I was too upset over my loss.I've never had another pet since. Maybe subconsciously I never got over the loss of Snowy, my beloved dog!

  2. Aww, that's such a lovely story, Will. Thanks for sharing. There were so many animals in my house growing up: dogs, cats, fowls, goats...and I still smile thinking about their peculiarities and caprices. I still love animals but I don't envisage myself going as far as the Essex man or Australian woman. Would you have gone that far for Snowy? Once again, thanks for sharing.

  3. I love and respect all of God's creatures yet, I feel like some television ads about saving animals and all that is sometimes not needed especially when humans are dying of starvation and aren't being treated as well as some people's pets. Yes animal torture and fighting is wrong full stop. But people take things to the extreme with the whole animal love thing. My sister has a dog (the family dog) and honestly if she fell in ice cold water, you would not find me stripping almost naked to save her...NEVER! I love her but I also love my life

  4. Ag, I'm with you on that. I love animals too but I will not endanger my own life to save my pet. Even though animals like dogs can be affectionate, we can't connect with them on a human level. I appreciate your comment.

  5. I love Will's story and I like the issue being discussed. For me, I love animals very much. One area we should not forget is that many of these animals depend on we humans to survive. For example, my dog cannot cook for herself or take bath; she will have to rely on me. Further these animals like dogs and cats do exhibit "Agape" type of love. Sometimes I wonder why my dog loves me so much that it can even attack an armed man on my behalf? I wish you can see the expression of love from these pets once I travel and return for just a week. I wish more Africans can love animals like our friends in Europe.

    Thank God for creating animals including dogs and cats.


  6. Prof G, it's nice to know you have such strong affection for animals. Yes, I would say dogs to an extent love unconditionally. They have a capacity to love that no other animal has in my opinion. Would you take the reckless risks that the two animal lovers mentioned took?

    In Africa we have very strong human relationships so animals can never play such a key role.

    Many thanks for your comment.

  7. I wonder if the dependence of man on animals is not a reflection of his great need for approval in the form of external affection? Maybe that's one indication that man is emotionally the weakest animal on the planet?

  8. Hehehe! Dlaw!! Great point. I'd rephrase that to say man is the emotionally neediest animal on the planet!