The wonderful strength of the human-animal bond

Posted on 2020-06-30 13:29:19


Since Covid 19 took over our lives, the role that pets play has become even more important, especially if one lives alone.

The Centre for Human-Animal Interaction at Virginia Commonwealth University in the USA has shown that pet owners’ health is usually impressively better than that of people without pets. Mental health also improves owing to the unconditional love given by animals to their owners. Pets are very quick to pick up an owner’s emotions, and a quite sophisticated form of ‘language’ quickly develops between a loving owner and a pet.

A few months ago, Tanya Fleischer of the Durban & Coast SPCA let me know that she had found a dog that she thought would be perfect for me. I had lost my adored cross-Papillon, Bonnie, to kidney failure a few months earlier. She was my shadow. She was not only beautiful, but wonderfully intelligent, loving and communicative… and with me day and night. She died at seventeen of kidney failure, active and happy until her last day when she lay all day on my bed on a special soft blanket sent her by my Australian grandson, Dean. Her blanket carried a large picture of her. I sat next to her all day stroking her and telling her how much I loved her. She never took her beautiful eyes off me and quietly drew her last breath at a quarter past five in the afternoon. I will love her forever.

Fifteen years had passed since the blessed day when we had set eyes on each other at the SPCA. On that same day, Richard, the SPCA ‘dog whisperer’, found me a sweet-natured two-year-old Labrador, whom I named Gaby. He lived a long, happy life with Bonnie and me and died quietly at home of organ failure at fourteen. Now I have Misty, a happy-natured, communicative, bright little girl who is about the same size as Bonnie, who weighed just eight kg before kidney failure caused her weight to drop, but she remained as spirited and adventurous as ever, checking on the vervet monkeys and the hadedas and always loving to go out with me to wherever dogs are welcome. If I had to go out without her, she perched on a window ledge in my bedroom waiting for the sound of my car until I returned.

If you are considering basking in the selfless love of a dog or cat, you will surely find your perfect animal waiting for you at the SPCA.

Animal Angle

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Shirley Bell, editor of Animal Angle, writes specially for us about animal issues

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