What animals teach us
Contrary to the popular belief that lonely people usually get pets, most cats and dogs live in families of at least three people.
According to a survey conducted on our website, as the main reason that prompted them to have pets, 26% of the owners of dogs, cats, rats and hamsters named love for animals, as well as the joy of having a faithful friend and taking care of him.
A beneficial effect on the development of the child is also an important factor: 8% of pet owners cite it as a key argument.
19% insist on the exclusive “social role” of their favorites, saving the owners from loneliness. Another 34% found it difficult to give a concrete answer to the question, saying that they simply could not imagine life without an animal in the house.
“I want a kitten!”
So says the child, and we get a kitten. Or a hamster. Or a puppy. At the same time, our main motive is: the child must grow up kind and responsible, and his own pet will become his assistant in this matter. Caring about the development of children’s responsibility and independence, parents try to put the care of the newly acquired animal on the shoulders of the child. And they achieve the opposite result: it is really difficult for him alone to cope with regular and not always pleasant new duties. He feels bewildered and concludes that caring for someone who is weaker and less than you is burdensome. So, if we want our children to be responsible for those whom they tamed, they need to … teach. You can start by taking care of a new friend together.
Love for animals or love for yourself?
“Over the past half century, attitudes toward pets in Russia, as well as around the world, have changed significantly,” said Irina Novozhilova, president of the Vita Animal Rights Protection Center. – If before dogs lived in a family mainly because they guarded the house, and cats protected from rodents, now they are perceived as full members of the family. Among the veterinarians, the term “companion animals” has even appeared.
Every year, the demand for the services of zoopsychologists rises, many books and specialized magazines are published: people want to understand how their pets feel and even think.
Today we take care not at all like before: hairdressing salons, hotels and even ateliers for dogs and cats, appearing in abundance around, make their life look like ours. We are happy to play this game without thinking – is it all necessary for the animals themselves? Do they benefit from such humanization? “When the owner feeds the dog or cat with what he eats, dresses up in clothes and puts him to bed, he seems to replace this with his failed relationship with another person,” said Elena Fedorovich, a zoopsychologist.
“Forcing our dog or a parrot to live an almost human life, we care not so much about his true desires, as about our own needs, which for some reason we cannot satisfy,” continues Irina Novozhilova. “We are trying, for example, to fill the lack of tenderness or lack of self-confidence.”
“An infinitely loyal dog”, “a sensitive, delicate cat” – we use many language cliches when we talk about our favorites. “Discussing the smallest details of their life, character and habits often disguises our narcissistic need to be in the spotlight,” says psychoanalyst Anna Skavitina, “and is often found in people who find it difficult to talk about themselves.”
Attributing to our pets an amazing gift to heal our mental illnesses, we tend to exaggerate the psychotherapeutic abilities of pets.
“Communication with a dog or cat, of course, helps to cope with situational stress and tension, but does not solve deep psychological problems,” explains Elena Fedorovich. “Observing animals, we learn to understand without words, develop our intuition and observation – I think that is precisely what the positive effect of communicating with them is in the first place.”
The phenomenon of “pet” developed along with the desire of man to conquer nature.
“Since ancient times, people have been ambivalent about animals: on the one hand, many of them are a constant object of hunting, on the other hand, human society is interested in replenishing their population, and therefore it is necessary to establish relationships with them, and atone for them to atone – says anthropologist Artem Kozmin. – That is why today, as in ancient times, good hunters “talk” with those who should become their prey. In many hunting tribes, the bones of a dead and eaten animal are buried with honors … Perhaps our love for pets partly continues the tradition. Surrounding the care and attention of cats, dogs, horses, we unconsciously atone for the massacre of cows, pigs and sheep. ”
In other words, attachment to pets allows a person to take the blame for the extermination of animals, the meat of which we eat daily, in fur and skin we dress.
“In dealing with pets they are attracted by their uncritical attitude towards us,” Elena Fedorovich believes, “unconditional emotional acceptance and attention to our actions and emotional states. Many of the skills that we gain by living next to them help us communicate with others and better understand ourselves. ”
Animals do not literally treat us, but they teach us to accept and give love, not to be afraid to express feelings. In other words, our relations with domestic animals do not replace, do not imitate human relations – they serve only as a useful and enriching complement to them.
The main features: sociability, devotion. The dog is ready to play a role in the family. For example, a caretaker or a nanny.
The nature of the owner. Various reasons lead to the fact that people have a dog. Those who decided to take this step can be open, emotional or restrained people, but all of them are united by an increased need for a warm, emotional relationship. Dog owners especially appreciate in their pets their ability to be faithful, independent of any external circumstances.
What dogs teach us. Be familiar with the situation before starting a relationship. A dog is an attentive observer, surprisingly subtly feeling the emotions and intentions of people.
Once in a new team, the dog needs some time to understand how the roles are distributed here, who is the leader, who is the breadwinner, who will play and walk with her. And only by orienting himself in the system of relations between people does the dog establish its special relations with each of the members of the collective individually. Her tact and ability to establish contact with people depending on their individual characteristics and preferences is really worth learning from.
The main features: independence and distance. The cat is unobtrusive in communication, she carefully doses out the signs of her love and decides what to do herself.
The nature of the owner. A common stereotype attributing to the lover of cats the features of a lone dreamer is not so far from the truth. To live in harmony with her, the owner must respect her territory and the rhythm of life, and this implies in him a tendency to think rather than to action.
What cats teach us. Live and let others live. The cat knows what it wants, and accurately selects what suits her best. That is why many people tend to consider it cold and selfish.
But this is not true: the cat is a very sensitive creature, and its affection for the owner, albeit not as obvious as that of a dog, makes it a true friend, ready to support and reassure – mainly through gentle touches.
Thus, the cat gives us a wonderful lesson on how to strike a balance between their own interests and the needs of others.
The main feature: curiosity. In search of food and new experiences, this small creature is ready to explore the most remote corners of the human home. Rats are easy to train, distinguish people by smell and correctly recognize the owner among them.
The nature of the owner. Rats are born with original natures: as a rule, they like that these rodents do not require special care, and, due to their inquisitive nature, adapt perfectly to any situation. These qualities make the rat an excellent companion: you can always carry it with you, take it on trips and show it to others.
In addition, rats are often chosen by people who lack tactile sensations in everyday life: their miniature pets not only like to crawl on the owner’s hands, shoulders and head, but also enjoy it a lot.
What rats teach us. Adoption of a close creature contrary to the resistance of others: the ancient stereotypes that ascribe to rats a lot of negative qualities are still strong enough, and a person who dares to get this animal will have to affirm his feelings for him, despite the condemnation and misunderstanding of others.
Despite the well-known unpretentiousness, the rat still needs to comply with certain standards (for example, it should always be clean in the cage), which teaches a person to be responsible and respectful of other people’s interests – however, in a rather mild and not burdensome form.
The main feature: Zen style behavior. Enclosed and unperturbed in their sealed aquarium, they show us peace of mind, which is worth learning from.
The nature of the owner. In this case, it is hardly appropriate to talk about the owner in the traditional sense of the word. Even an inveterate aquarist, most likely, it would not occur to him to share experiences with his veil-tails, which are unlikely to be able to distinguish his hand, which gives them food daily, from any other.
The one who starts the fish is rather contemplative and restrained. Fishes that do not require emotions from their master or active participation in their lives will become ideal companions for such a person. In addition, fish are often started by people who are used to controlling everything.
What do aquarium fish teach us? Relax. It has long been noticed that aquarium fish are a great object for meditation. In the harsh conditions of a big city, many of us simply lost the ability to relax our soul and body, while the aquarium helps to restore this invaluable skill. In addition, it allows us to organically combine the admiration for the unpredictability and beauty of the wild with the natural desire for peace, comfort and safety: the aquarium is a real ocean in miniature, but there are never tsunamis or storms on this ocean.
Riding in combination with simple physical exercises – this is the basis for the method of hippotherapy, which began to be actively used in Russia in the early 90’s. Healing riding is useful in many ways: a horse walking in step transmits to a person sitting in the saddle from 90 to 110 impulses per minute, and therefore the rider, trying to maintain balance, strengthens his muscles, improves coordination, gait and posture. Hippotherapy has a beneficial effect not only on the musculoskeletal system: experts recommend it for gastrointestinal and cardiovascular diseases, various neurological disorders and sexual problems: physical and emotional contact with horses can ease the course of many diseases (including children!) and sometimes cure them.
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