The Human-Animal Bond
Because virtually everything on this site relates to the human-animal bond in one way or another, it makes sense to define exactly what that term means. Mention the bond and some people immediately start talking about service dogs or grief counseling for those coping with the loss of a pet, while others mention the studies of the beneficial effects of animal companionship on human physical and mental health. And, indeed, on this site you will find articles and commentaries that discuss all those subjects. Additionally, you will find information about those unique qualities of the human-companion-animal bond and, more specifically, the human-canine bond and the human-feline bond as these affect canine and feline health and behavior.
But as you read this material, you may notice that many times I refer to human-animal relationships rather than the human-animal bond. I do this because over the years there's been a tendency in some quarters to equate the word "bond" with only those warm fuzzy aspects of human-animal interactions (this latter phrase being yet another synonym I use to denote the more comprehensive view of interspecies discourse I explore in my work). Most of my friends will attest to my more optimistic, Pollyanna-ish view of reality, but even I realized years ago that some human-animal bonds work better than others. Some relationships that work for humans don't work at all for the animals involved. Conversely, some relationships that work well for the animals don't work for the people with whom those animals interact. On a daily basis, anyone who routinely associates with animals may experience euphoric highs or lows that plunge them into the depths of despair.
Because of all this, to me any discussions of the human-animal bond that don't take into account the full spectrum of possible responses only tell part of the story. Although I like a happy ending as much as anyone, it was all those decades spent working with clients and animals whose bonds resulted in the most complex and horrendous problems that proved to me just how strong and powerful the human-animal bond really is. This site is a tribute to them, all they taught and teach me, and all they daily inspire me to learn.