People Who Love Animals More Than People
Animals deserve more love because they are better than humans
How did you feel when Toto was kidnapped by the Wicked Witch? Were you scared? Worried? Angry? Did want to look away so you didn’t risk seeing anything bad happen to Toto?
If so, you’re not alone. Most humans love their pets deeply. We show it with birthday celebrations, extra space on the couch or even the whole bed.
But does that mean that we love animals more than humans?
Or is there something more complicated going on?
Here’s an in-depth look at all the reasons why it sometimes feels like we love our dog more than our next-door neighbor.
The Weakest Among Us
A recent study by criminologist Jack Levin reveals a possible reason that might surprise you.
In this study, the participants were asked to respond to a fake news story about a victim who was assaulted with a baseball bat, leaving him or her unconscious with several broken limbs. While the story was the same, it differed in one crucial detail: the identity of the victim, which was either a one-year-old baby, an adult human, a six-year-old dog, or a puppy.
Respondents showed the same level of empathy for the baby, the puppy, and the adult dog, but significantly less for the adult human. This suggests that our empathy level is unrelated to species. Rather, it has to do with perceived helplessness and vulnerability.
It’s true. We all yearn for it and crave it.
Someone who loves us for who we are. Who has zero expectations? Who is always happy to see us, no matter how grumpy we may be feeling today. We crave unconditional love. In human relationships, this precious commodity is almost impossible to find.
But not with pets.
It doesn’t matter if your boss yelled at you, your boyfriend broke up with you, or your car broke down on the Interstate. Your beloved Fido or Morris is there for you.
Given all these considerations, it’s easy to understand why some of us seem to prefer animals over humans. But the reality is a much bigger picture than we realize.
Animals touch the most intimate parts of our hearts: our need to nurture and protect, our need for companionship and love. These needs exist within us, no matter what. But it seems that animals have a unique ability to bring them out in us. Dogs, cats, even lions, and monkeys inspire us to reveal these deep human needs, which we might otherwise keep hidden.
And there’s nothing pathological about that. In fact, it proves that we have a deep capacity to love and care for others under the right circumstances.
Paradoxically, our love and care for animals free us to be human.
And that’s a precious gift.