Update from Jeremy Shaba - June 25, 2014

The power of the human-animal bond

Many people are aware of and have had the pleasure of experiencing the joy that can come from the human-animal bond. However, when people talk about that special bond they are usually referring to their favorite dog or cat. A couple of cases that I have seen this past week have really opened up my eyes to the possibilities of what the human-animal bond can be.

Typically, owners of production animals view their animals as just that: production animals. They care for them and provide for them but they view them as part of their business and most decisions made are purely economical. This past week I saw two interesting cases with "production" animals that were atypical.

The first one was a hen named Rose. Rose was a backyard hen, one of six hens that these owners took care of and became very attached to. One wouldn't typically nuzzle a chicken and show them the same sort of affection as you would a dog. Not these owners! This was one very spoiled chicken that was very affectionate and was loved dearly by her owners. Her owners noticed she wasn't as healthy as she usually is and brought her in straight away for a check-up. Rose was examined and sent home with some medication in hopes of a full recovery.

The second case was a 3-month-old lamb that was brought in by a woman and her three children. The lamb was doing very poorly and had already been seen once by a veterinarian the previous day. Unfortunately, the tough decision had to be made to euthanize her lamb and it was not an easy one. This lamb was an orphan lamb and had been raised by this woman. The whole family was very attached to it.

Although the outcomes of these two cases were very different, one thing stood out quite noticeably: the love these humans had for their animals. Animals come in many shapes, sizes, and personalities and the bond that can be formed between an animal and a human is not something easily understood or described. I have learned that it is important to recognize the relationship an owner has with their animal and make sure to always show compassion and empathy, especially when you least expect that you may need to.


Be sure to check out The Externship Project videos

You are here