The 2017 pet book author of the year has to be John Bradshaw.
Bradshaw founded and directs the world-renowned Anthrozoology Institute, based at the University of Bristol, Englad. He has been studying the behaviour (that’s how they spell behavior over there) of domestic cats and dogs for over 25 years, and is the author of many scientific articles, and now several popular press books, as he pumps those books, including “Dog Sense,” “Cat Sense” and “The Trainable Cat” (with Sarah Ellis). His most recent is “The Animals Among Us: How Pets Make Us Human” is my tenth pet book of Christmas.
The title is perfect and the book is on target. Bradshaw essentially begins to answer what I point out all the time. People in most countries around the world have cared for pets – particularly cats and dogs – for eons – but no one forces people to do this.
Once upon a time cats and dogs served utilitarian purposes. Cats kept the rodents out, and dogs were a partner to hunt with or guarded the flock. No one could have thought than these animals would one day be pets, and actually live inside our homes.
Today in the U.S., UK and many parts of the world, pets are considered members of the family. In the U.S., most people do have at least one pet (around 60 percent). Bradshaw wonders why? Having a pet is an added time commitment, responsibility and it cost money to care for pets. So, why do so many of us do it?
Why do we like to pet dogs and cats so much? It’s good for us (lowering blood pressure, for example), that we know – but again, why? Bradshaw’s theory is that stroking a dog or cat may tap into our primal instinct to build friendships through grooming.
So, is that theory too much of a stretch? Maybe. I don’t know. But Bradshaw throughout “The Animals Among Us” will fascinate and encourage you to think.