PARTNERSHIP OF ETERNITY: THE BOND
Humans have always shared a close bond with animals. If we take a deeper look at Hindu mythology, we see that so many of our Gods and Goddesses have animals as their Vahanas (mount). Read on to know how the human-animal bond has been going on for centuries and has evolved with modern times.
–by Dr Jairam Ramani
The most popular vahanas are – Lord Vishnu and Garuda, Lord Shiva and Nandi, Lord Ganesh and the mouse, and the list goes on! Even the earliest avatars of Lord Vishnu were animals – Matsya (fish), Kurma (tortoise), Varaha (boar).
The development of our species is closely related to the bond that was forged between humans and animals. Humans have domesticated many different animal species over centuries. The main ones being – cattle, horses, dogs, and in recent past cats. Dogs have descended from wolves who were also domesticated by man.
Animals have helped humans engage in agrarian activities for thousands of years. Men have ridden on horses, elephants and camels to battle for many centuries across different continents. Birds have been used to send and receive messages. Doves have always signified peace. Bullock carts and horse drawn carriages have been a part of history! These are all examples of a successful partnership between humans and animals.
Majority of pets today are cats and dogs. Dogs have been playing the role of man’s best friend for centuries. As mentioned earlier dogs were among the first animal species to be domesticated. Dogs have natural instincts for chasing, hunting, and of course showering unmatched affection. It is little wonder that today dogs help people in many ways.
An increase in the number of nuclear families has led to an exponential rise in pet parenting. Dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, turtles and squirrels are in the list of pets being brought into my clinic for advice and treatment. The COVID 19 outbreak and the subsequent lockdowns resulted in more and more families adopting pets.
Responsibility of bringing home a new member
Getting a pet home is akin to adding an extra member to the family. A new pet always needs time and attention. The process of introduction is called house-breaking. The human – pet bond starts to develop the moment the pet enters the house. Pets add a new dimension to the family. It is always a very enriching experience for the family. A pet dog needs to be cuddled, fed, walked and given lots of love. This brings a routine to the life of the pet and the pet parent. Children learn empathy and responsibility if they are assigned certain responsibilities with regard to their pet like grooming, cleaning the environment and walking the pets.
Research has shown that people keeping pets are able to cope with stressful situations better. Pets reduce loneliness and depression. The majority of pet owners also have a better control on their blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Research done has shown that Pet owners / parents live longer, fuller and happier lives. Children having pets learn empathy and nurturing skills better.
Pets have a special connect with their owners. Dogs are more expressive in their behavior. They communicate well with their eyes and actions, and are also able to sense your mood.
All of us must continue to nurture the bond humans share with animals.
My advice to everyone wanting to live a happier and fuller life is – you must adopt a pet and experience the wonderful journey of love and affection!
(Dr. Jairam Ramani is owner of Pluto Pet Clinic has been practicing companion animal medicine since the past 28 years. The clinic has facilities for conducting small animal surgeries, diagnostic facilities like pathology, x-rays & sonography. Pluto Pet Clinic has recently added special consulting rooms for feline patients).