You Haven't Lived Until You've Loved an Animal

You Haven't Lived Until You've Loved an Animal

Last update: 16 September, 2016

Until you know what it’s like to love an animal, you won’t understand true nobility or emotional awakening, the kind that heals the soul. Loving a dog, a cat, or any other creature – no matter how small, restless, or unique it is – enriches your life and shows you how their feelings are just as valuable as ours.

We’ve all read about the benefits of having a pet. But what’s more interesting is discovering the impact pets have on public health. According to many different studies, animals prevent numerous visits to the doctor, which saves about 3 million euros per year on healthcare in countries like Germany and Austria.

When you love an animal, you see yourself reflected in their eyes, in the look that expects everything from you, that invites you to pet them, that makes you smile and feel noble emotions. The only thing they ask for in exchange is love.

Everyone can talk affectionately about the time they brought that special someone home and and how they turned their world and their heart upside down. Something awakens within you when you adopt a dog, or when you rescue a kitten from the street, hungry, dirty, and in need of affection.

It’s like a light comes on inside you, like a strange device starts moving the gears of change to help you become a better person.

cat and butterfly

Animal therapy

Let’s begin with the case of Claudia, a woman with Alzheimer’s who lost interest in the world a long time ago. None of the activities that were held in her residence helped her except one: when they brought in four little dogs trained for this type of therapy.

Claudia was particularly fond of one of the dogs. All it took was one look for her face to brighten and her energy to grow and connect her to reality. It never failed. Seconds later, she took the animal in her arms, kissed it, and told it a million things. Thanks to this interaction, they’ve been able to reduce Claudia’s medications. Animals are the best medicine.

According to a study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology this “awakening” could be brought on by the activation of oxytocin, which is known as the hormone for love and affection. When its levels increase, we experience psychological and physiological chain reactions allowing us to be more present and receptive to everything involved with emotions (hugs, caresses, affectionate words, etc.).

boy and dog

An animal’s gaze

Sometimes, with simply a look, animals can establish a better emotional connection than humans can. Animals have a truly incredible capacity for emotional connection, even through a simple gesture or look. In fact, it’s known that the visual contact between a dog and its owner is so genuine and sincere that it strengthens the bond between them.

There are many different types of love, but love for an animal is exceptional and brings out the best in us, helps us to be better people.

According to an interesting study published in Science Magazinedogs can recognize human smiles, show empathy, and can even interpret our emotions just by looking at us in the eyes. This is all the result of many years of evolving together, during which an exceptional bond has been created, which goes much further than breed and size. It comes right from the genes and the heart.

monkey and cat

We become the person who’s reflected in the eyes of our pets

People often say that your dog’s eyes are the best mirror to see the reflection of your soulThis is so true.

  • If an animal you’ve raised runs away from you and reflects fear in its eyes, something isn’t right. Fear thrives on negative emotions.
  • Few things are as therapeutic as getting home in a bad mood with tears burning like grains of sand in your eyes, and suddenly seeing yourself reflected in the eyes of your dog or your cat. It’s like they’re hugging you and telling you that everything will be okay.
  • To your pet, you are the most beautiful thing in the world, and this isn’t just because you feed them. They’re also eager to receive your affection.
  • Looking into your animal’s eyes can also be a mirror that promotes your own self-acceptance. Their eyes are sincere, and they can offer you another perspective where you can relativize your problems, worries, and stress. All you have to do is hug them, and then the world will fall into place.
woman hugging horse

The wonderful dose of oxytocin that our pets produce helps us to connect with reality and to combine their affection with the hope we need to get through our daily storms more safely. Because we’re all a little asleep until we discover what it’s like to love an animal.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.