78: Pet relationships

A Thousand Things to Talk About
78: Pet relationships


Do you trust your animal companion’s opinions of people?

Show notes and links:
An Hypothesis about Jung’s Collective Unconscious and Animal-assisted Therapy (NeuroQuantology)
Pets in America: A History (New York Times)

Full episode text

So – fair warning, don’t Google “pet intuition” unless you want to delve into the world of pseudo-sketchy academic journals such as “NeuroQuantology, an interdisciplinary journal of neuroscience and quantum mechanics.” Don’t get me wrong, this could be a well-respected journal in some circles, and they do actually make some great points about the possibility that animals may play an important role in therapy when taken from the perspective of Carl Jung’s Collective Unconsciousness theory.

It’s quite the fascinating read that I’ll link in the description.

However, what fascinates me more about this subject is exactly how much someone can trust their pets. It’s not something that’s strictly “new” by societal standards, though by some measures of evolution, it is quite the quirk.

Fully 20 percent more American households report having pets than kids. And there’s a long and interesting history of how animal companions went from hunting partners to livestock to doted-upon family members that are allowed to share our beds.

And as a part of this co-evolution, there’s fundamental tension explored in the 2006 book Pets in America, where the author explores the fact that pet owners both attribute their pets with very human-like emotions and personality descriptions, while also apparently valuing and trying to experience the “animal” in each of our pets.

Which, taken in total, presents a question when these creatures we share our lives, spaces, and emotions with encounter a new person. Do you trust their reactions?