A couple from the UK took a vacation to the Island of Barbados. It was supposed to be a cute little vacation fo the two of them, to enjoy their love for each other and the scenic beauty, but while on the Island, they found themselves in a bit of a pickle. See, they were driving along the road and saw what appeared to be a shivering ball of fuzz on the tarmac. Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a dog.
It was love at first sight. Fully invested in the puppy, they made the expensive trek back to the UK with the puppy in tow. It took them around $4,500 to get the animal from Barbados to England because it’s so expensive to move an animal across international borders, but they loved him too much to let such things prevent their love from reaching across the pond. Currently, they’re looking for ways to raise funds because their new dog has a serious condition, one that made him such a mangy mess in Barbados.
And he needs to either be treated, or have his leg amputated. They’re raising funds to make sure their puppy doesn’t need to lose his leg.
Some might wonder why people go to such great lengths for the animals they love. Others don’t. WashingtonPost did an insightful article on the statement:
Bradshaw, an honorary research fellow at the University of Bristol in England, would know. He was trained as a biologist — one who began by studying animals, not people, and not their relationship. But he says his work on dog and cat behavior led him to conclude that he would never fully understand those topics without also considering how humans think about their animals. In 1990, he and a small group of other researchers who studied pet ownership coined a term for their field: anthrozoology. Today, university students at a few dozen U.S. universities study the topic he helped pioneer.
There is evidence that interacting with pets does reduce people’s stress, provided the pet is behaving properly. Good interactions do have quite a profound effect, causing changes in oxytocin and in beta endorphins. Those are actual changes going on in the body of somebody who is stroking a friendly dog. So that’s the upside. The downside is that pets, real pets that actually live with people, cause stress and expense and all sorts of other things that can cause arguments within the family. And if you take humanity as a whole, I suspect that those two things kind of balance out.
For every paper that says that pets make you live longer or that they make people healthier, many other reports — particularly those that come from medical professionals, who don’t really have a stake in the field — that find no effect or actually negative effects. The reporting bias is in favor of the good ones, so the study that showed that cat owners were usually more depressed than people who don’t have any pets didn’t rate any headlines. So pet-keeping as a habit, averaged out, is probably not having any major effect on health in either direction. If the dog gets people out and about and likes energetic exercise, then there are probably health benefits. But they’re not just going to come as part of the package.
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