By Basee Saka
It has been said, if you want to know how a man will treat you, look at the relationship between him and his mother. Well, men are not alone in relationships so what can we use to see how men AND women will treat someone they say they love.
One of the things that child development experts say we should do for our children is to let them have a pet. Use the pet to teach them how to care for another living being. Caring for a pet takes consistency, selflessness, responsibility and familiarity. As a pet owner you become familiar with the pet’s moods, likes, dislikes even medical condition WITHOUT the animal saying one word! You learn who your pet is simply by paying attention to it. This is a vital lesson to learn for a child. Having to learn it as an adult is difficult because of all the other duties and responsibilities that get in the way.
When watching an adult with a pet, you see unconditional love. I have never heard a pet owner tell a pet, ‘if you don’t lick my face it’s because you don’t love me’. Or ‘if you let someone else stroke your tummy it’s because you prefer them to me’. In fact quite contrary to that, they are actually PROUD that their pet is deemed to be friendly. I’ve never known a pet to go to the store and buy a birthday gift for its owner, yet the owner will buy gifts for the sheer pleasure of seeing the pet happy. If the pet messes in an area that it shouldn’t, the owner will check to see if there is a medical problem, a problem with access to its usual toileting area or other reasons for the pet to behave out of character. If they can’t find any, they will reprimand the pet and reiterate the training exercises. They don’t take the pet to the sanctuary and turn their back on it.
The owner of a pet knows and is secure in the bond with the pet because of how the pet responds to them; the nuzzling, the excited wagging of the tail, the curling up on the lap, the picking at the hair (birds). The pet will have their own unique way of showing appreciation of their owner. Both will have an understanding and security in knowing that they belong together. Pets that are treated well and feel secure don’t run away from their partners and cannot be enticed away with a piece of meat. They may want the meat, even eat the meat, but will ultimately head straight for home. This may be because the meat doesn’t represent anything other than food, or because home is where they feel most secure.
Comparing people to animals is distasteful to some, however, we often compare animals to humans. There are studies of behaviour are conducted on animals and translated to humans. For example the ‘alpha male’ studies with the primates. Humans are animals. A more sophisticated species I admit, but the nervous systems, reproductive systems and digestive systems are practically identical to many species of animal.
The differences lie in how and what we communicate to each other. Being able to use words makes us lazy when it comes to learning about each other. Because we are not physically dependent on each other we don’t take as much responsibility for each other. We think of animals as being ‘simple’ with no ‘hidden agenda’ so we are more open to accepting their characters and personalities. We don’t expect spite or vindictiveness from our pets so we feel free to love unconditionally. Even some people who are not exactly the ‘best’ pet owners, are rewarded with loyalty from their pets. Yet, as humans we don’t afford each other the same loyalty and appreciation.
A ‘good’ pet owner (not an over indulgent one that hides from human relationships by replacing humans with animals) will have the ability to show that same responsibility and affection to a human. Will have that same ability to pay attention to their partner and learn their partner’s moods and be intuitive to their needs.
People will argue that you can’t compare the relationship between humans, to the relationship between a human and an animal, I would argue that. Love doesn’t distinguish where it’s going or where it’s coming from. Appreciation isn’t limited to a human characteristic. With the absence of sex, human relationships mirror that of human and animal relationships. Ask a policeman with a dog for a partner, ask a mountie, ask a cattleman or a shepherd. It’s a concept that people who have never had that close relationship with an animal will struggle to understand. Quite often the same people who struggle to forge and maintain relationships with people, simply because they never learned.
What say you? Enquiring minds want to know! Please leave your comments.
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