2 Med. & L. 277 (1983)
The Human/Companion Animal Bond and the Anthropomorphizing and Naming of Pets

handle is hein.journals/mlv2 and id is 281 raw text is: 




Med Law (1983) 2: 277 - 283                           M   edicie
                                                          and Law
                                                       Springer-Verlag 1983





Commentary


The Human/Companion Animal Bond
and the Anthropomorphizing
and Naming of Pets

Ralph Slovenko
Professor of Law and Psychiatry, Wayne State University, School of Law, Detroit,
MI 48202, USA

A wide variety of health care professionals are giving increasing attention to the
human/companion animal bond. Their main emphasis is on the relationship of
dogs to people. They are considering the benefits of the use of dogs (as well as
other animals) as adjuncts in various kinds of therapy. Pet-facilitated therapy has
brought sometimes remarkable improvement in patients with otherwise
intractable mental illnesses. Withdrawn children and others become talkative
when a dog is in the office. Pets have helped to calm hyperactive and overly
aggressive children. In the popular TV film, Skeezer, based on a true story, a
nurse at a home for emotionally disturbed youngsters uses her dog to help the
youngsters adjust to the world around them.
   Health care professionals have demonstrated other positive results emerging
from the relationship between a patient and a well-placed animal. Quite often,
pets give the elderly who are despondent a reason for living. They also have the
effect of lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart disease. As a
consequence, regulations of nursing homes and other institutions (including
prisons) are being changed to allow the keeping of a pet [1].
   To promote the placement of pets in various institutions, there are
organizations such as Therapy Dogs International and PAWS (Pets Are
Wonderful). Their motto: Paws awhile for love.
   For children, pets help to teach responsibility, nurturing, compassion, loyalty
and empathy. Studies point out that pets are helpful to children in their
development, and as every parent knows, they keep children amused. My
brother's son could not live without his dog.
   Pets help to unite a family, reducing conflict and tension and increasing play in
the family.
   Pets help to deal with loneliness. People talk to pets in the same way they talk
to intimates. At Jason's, a popular Boston bar, members of the crowd, mostly
single, are known to chat with the fish. Having a pet eliminates the coming home
to an empty house. A pet provides a dependable welcome home. Owning a pet

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