Recently an article published on Care2 by Sarah Cooke claimed we are filling our emotional needs with pets instead of people. The author said we are not appreciating animals for what they really are. Cooke maintains that having an animal and loving them is an amazing thing but we shouldn’t replace human interaction with animal interaction.
Cooke illustrates this by saying,
Some of us anthropomorphize our pets in a way that we didn’t in the past – and in a way that fails to actually respect the animals for what they are.
By anthropomorphize this author is describing an act where people give human characteristics to their pets. She furthers her point by saying,
And it is precisely this anthropomorphizing that suggests that maybe we are trying to replace human connections with relationships with animals.
To make her claim more applicable she explains that we are not connected to our local communities as much as we used to be because of the long commutes to work and hours we spend there. At the end of the article she places a strong emphases on addressing the lack of relationships we have with one another.
I think there are many people out there, me included, who are extremely active in their communities and are also proud pet owners. I feel everyone should be free to view their animals in any way they desire, whether it is as a pet, or a best friend.
What do you think? Are people substituting human interaction with animal interaction? Is there an issue we need to address?