Why Animals Make Life Better

Humans and animals have been inseparable since the first horses were tamed and the first wolf cubs domesticated. There’s a bond between people and their animals that often goes much deeper than friendship, companionship, or usefulness, and while psychologists and animal behavior experts continue to debate why people and animals form such strong bonds, the fact that they do is indisputable.

There are some of the less pleasant aspects of living with animals, of course:

  • They shed their fur or hair all over the house
  • They can be very noisy
  • They cost money to feed and care for
  • They take up a lot of time
  • They restrict your freedom
  • You have to clean up after them
  • They chew all your stuff
  • They make messes where they shouldn’t
  • They break your heart when they die

These are just some of the ways in which animals are an expensive, time-consuming burden; but that last item on the list is the most telling. Despite all the ways in which they inconvenience you, you still love them deeply, and wouldn’t want to be without them.

Sometimes these problems make your bond that much stronger. In Montana, there’s a high level of horse ownership, and horses can sometimes be quite a challenge. If your horse won’t do what you want, is aggressive or bolshie, and you feel like you can’t handle him, it can be depressing and frustrating, not to mention a pointless drain on your resources. However, if you accept the challenge and look at how you can overcome your problems, you can transform the relationship into an even stronger one. For example, you could seek help from an expert horseperson near you, or use resources from the web like the Downunder horse training videos that help you gain your horse’s trust and respect.

Horse owners who have had difficulties with their mounts will nearly always tell you that the problem ones became some of their favorites. The same is often true of domestic pets; it’s the runts, the outcasts, and the oddities that get deepest into your heart. But if they’re so much trouble, why do we love animals so much, and how do they make life better?

If you want to look at it scientifically, you could make the case that animals are good for you, teaching children valuable lessons about caring, responsibility, and loss. Growing up with animals reduces the likelihood that children will have allergies later in life, and strengthens their immune system. Pets can also be useful. For instance, if you live alone, you might feel safer having a dog. Cats can keep down the rodent population, and chickens can eat all your garden pests and weeds.

But there’s more to it than science. Animals don’t lie, deceive, or judge in the way people can. They are what they are; if they want to spend time with you, it’s because they feel comfortable with you, and they won’t stay if they’ve had enough. You always know where you are with an animal; and most often that’s in a warm, secure, and very happy place.