Quantifying the Human-Animal Bond

The relationship between humans and animals is as complex and diverse as the Earth herself. Animals have long shared a deep and meaningful bond with humankind from being a food source to serving as a trusted friend and Soul companion.

According to a Gallup lifestyle poll 6 out of every 10 Americans share their lives and home with some kind of animal companion and it is estimated that Americans spend over 36 billion dollars per year on pet care.

The reasons for having an animal companion vary widely. Some people love animals for their unconditional love and treasure the companionship. Some need service animals such as Seeing Eye horses and therapy dogs. Some animals are actually in the job force such as canine cops and truffle seeking pigs.

While the reasons for having an animal companion vary, we all have one thing in common…a unique bond or attachment that we have for animals. This bond or attachment will determine how you treat and interact with your pets. Below is a scale that will help you determine how you define and quantify the unique relationship you share with each of your pets. It will also allow you to understand other people’s relationships and attitudes towards animals with more clarity and understanding.

  1. Level 1 – Cruelty/Abuse
    • If you are reading this article you most definitely are not a level 1. People at this level have no respect for animal life. Animal torture, abuse or abandonment is a common practice. Animals are regarded as lowly beings to be tolerated and used.
  2. Level 2 – Ambivalence
    • Level 2 is characterized by people who have a pet but could care less about it. Perhaps their child desperately wanted a dog so they succumbed. Basic care is given but neglect is common and health issues are probably not addressed. The animal will often be left to its own devices and will likely suffer from a variety of behavioral, emotional and physical issues.
  3. Level 3 – Responsible/Traditional care
    • This is probably the most common type of human/animal relationship exhibited. The animal is an important member of the household and is well provided for as far as food, shelter and medical care. However there isn’t a strong emotional attachment.
  4. Level 4 – Family Member
    • People characterized as a level 4 consider their pets to be members of the family. The animal is involved in day to day activities and enjoys the best food, comfort and care that its caretakers can afford. There is a strong emotional attachment between the pet and his/her human.
  5. Level 5 – Soul Companion
    • Some people share close, intimate and profound bonds with their animal companions. Someone at a level 5 considers their companion to be an equal and relies on their companion as a close and trusted ally and friend. It isn’t uncommon for such people to ask advice from their trusted friend. They often believe that their time together involves a deep spiritual commitment.

There aren’t any hard lines between the levels. These are just guidelines to provide you with a broader understanding of the intricate human/animal bond and with the relationship you share with your pet.

Which category do you find yourself in? Do you have any judgments about the other levels? If so what are they? Do you have a desire to strengthen and deepen the bond between yourself and animals? If so, how do you think this will benefit you? The world?

A greater understanding of the emotional bond you have with your pet will lead you to a greater understanding of yourself, your motivations and your Soul path. As the human species grows and evolves so too does its relationships with itself and other beings.

A deeper compassion for animals will serve to lead humanity toward solving many of our social issues such as war and abuse. As you interact with your animal companion today think of him/her not as a pet but as an agent of social evolution.

Becky Kimes is a Divine Animal Healer and Initiator of Enlightenment who specializes in working with people to overcome their grief when losing an animal companion. Visit her today at http://divinehealingforanimals and sign up for her free, weekly ezine Animal Connections where you’ll receive valuable article, inspirational stories, and be introduced to professionals dedicated to enriching and enhancing the lives of animals.

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Copyright (c) 2009 Rebecca Kimes