Will Dogs Always be Man’s Best Friend?
You can build a loving and interactive relationship with your dog. Dogs enjoy your affection and even being bathed and groomed. But before you decide that your dog brush is only useful for your canine pal consider the other animals that science has now proved can build relationships with humans. You might be surprised at just how many species enjoy human company and even a good going over with your dog brush.
Rhinos and Goats
Apparently a rhinoceros will respond well to human interaction but that is perhaps not to be recommended! In any case a rhinoceros is a little on the large side for the average house and you can’t groom one either. Goats, on the other hand, make excellent pets.
More than 50,000 people in the UK keep goats as pets and their owners are always keen to highlight their intelligence. Goats appear to relish interacting with their human keepers and recent studies have revealed that they are more intelligent than previously thought. Goats are able to problem solve and will call on humans to help them. Even tortoises have been shown to develop bonds with people and to demonstrate interspecies communication. Who would have thought it?
Cows also relish human contact and research has shown that positive relationships with people result in improved milk yields. Cows love being groomed too, so your dog brush could certainly be put to good use if you take up dairy farming. One scientist has described cows as being like big dogs with udders! You may also wish to consider adopting a sheep as they are fond of human interaction and their ears go a bit floppy when they are stroked, just like a dog’s. Sheep also have the ability to recognise photographs of themselves, other sheep and people and can interpret people’s moods from the pictures!
The truth is that we don’t really know what the abilities of most animals really are, especially those which have not traditionally been our pets. We think of dogs as man’s best friends but there could be species with which we could enjoy more advanced relationships. The study of animals’ relationships with humans is called anthrozoology. Sadly this is not a well-funded science and so many questions remain unanswered.
The research which has been carried out has always proved to be fascinating and has consistently revealed astounding abilities in the animal kingdom. Irene Pepperberg spent 30 years working with Alex, an African Grey Parrot, and proved that he could use speech not just to mimic but to answer questions. It is now known that rats like to be tickled and can laugh and that pigeons can distinguish between the work of different artists. Indeed they proved to be more skilful in this regard than first year art students!
Get the Dog Brush Out
Given that it is now accepted that interacting with animals is beneficial to human health, anthrozoology is a science which should surely be a priority for funding. Dogs may be man’s best friend right now but there could be a myriad of amazing possibilities waiting to be discovered. OK you can’t groom a pigeon and so the dog brush won’t come in handy there, and a cow is never going to be a substitute for a lap dog, but we have only scratched the surface when it comes to understanding animals’ ability to communicate with us. We need to know more and the most popular pets in the future may not be dogs.