Love Lasts Longer With Pets in the Picture
The Human-pet companion bond is what I write about. For thousands of years we have been in partnership with you. The beginnings of our long association were in helping you hunt, or destroying vermin who ate stored food. Gradually the relationships grew. Today we are recognized as service animals and faithful, loving companions.
Dogs are used to help people with post-traumatic stress disorder, and as guides for people who cannot see and who need companions to help them live independently.
One of our specialties is acting as catalysts for communication and social interaction. We help teach children responsibility, and are often the only listeners who do not judge young people or adults. Much research and anecdotal data points to what we animals bring to relationships with people.
Puppy Dog Tales
The Association for Psychological Science reported that a group of psychological scientists, with James K. McNulty of Florida State University leading, developed a method for helping marriages that is not a surprise to me: pictures of puppies and bunnies.
Then they showed the participants a slide show once every three days for six weeks. Half were photos on a split screen with the spouse and positive images and words like incredible and wonderful. Half saw the split screen with neutral photos of things like chairs and neutral words.
Every two weeks for eight weeks the researchers measured attitudes and asked them how they felt about their spouse.
What this study measured was based on the concept of evaluative conditioning, which simply means identifying something or someone with a feeling, good or bad, that sticks with the something or someone.
You may have experienced this, for example, when you’ve eaten something, gotten sick, and forever hated that food. Another example happens when you identify a memory with a song. You hear a song, and you go back to a place or a time, maybe with a certain person.
The intervention worked, and marital satisfaction was improved. James McNulty and his associates were a little surprised at how effective the images were. McNulty was quoted as saying, “It was like they went on 13 artificial good dates.” I am not surprised at the results — nothing is better than puppies and bunnies.
The overall takeaway is that you associate friends, spouses, siblings, and coworkers with positive and negative thoughts and experiences that will influence relationships. Let us be a part of the positives in your relationships. Not only looking at pictures of puppies and bunnies, but also having them in your life will make your relationships more satisfying.
Just another way we make your lives better! Keep your tail high and your feet dry and think aboutadopting a pet from the shelter.