When I think about the human animal bond, I have to admit I’m biased. Ninety nine percent of what I treat are dogs and cats, so those are the animals I think of when I think of the bond. But I’m sure animal lovers would tell me they are just as bonded to their horses, ferrets, iguanas, etc. as I am to my dogs. I’ve known farmers that made a ‘pet’ out of their calves. I’ve had clients bring me rats, sugar gliders, snakes, and ocelot who were just as committed to those creatures as my dog and cat clients.
Cluck Cluck certainly deserves consideration after alerting her owners their home was on fire.
To me, it’s this picture of Haley and Bubba. Haley has been great pet owner and friend for a long time. She gave me this picture in a frame that said ‘My Best Friend’ for my birthday. When I think of the bond it’s about hugs and kisses and normal everyday life that includes the pets. It would be hard to hug and kiss a chicken with the same gusto but you could. Cluck Cluck’s family must now feel a pretty powerful bond with her.
Does Cluck Cluck have a bond with them? Beyond the immediate needs of food, water, shelter and protection? If you’ve read my blog you know that I’ve talked about dogs being the ‘social parasite’, their brains are essentially hard-wired to stimulate us to care for them. Chickens are missing the higher brain, so their behaviors may be adaptive or reactive, but stimulatory to evoke a response? I’m not sure. I hesitate to pursue this line of reasoning further. There may be some evidence for it, but it tends to lead down the train of thought that the animal rights people prefer, that is, a chicken or any animal has the same rights we do.
Arguments like that are best left for another day. Have a Happy New Year, thank you for reading my blog in 2012, and give your pet a big hug and kiss for me!