Pets in Love
Check out this interesting article from the Atlantic about neurochemical research that sheds light on the emotions of dogs and cats…
I’m not a dog person. I prefer cats. Cats make you work to have a relationship with them, and I like that. But I have adopted several dogs, caving in to pressure from my kids. The first was Teddy, a rottweiler-chow mix whose bushy hair was cut into a lion mane. Kids loved him, and he grew on me, too. Teddy was probably ten years when we adopted him. Five years later he had multiple organs failing and it was time to put him to sleep.
When I arrived at the vet, he said I could drop him off. I was aghast. No. I needed to stay with Teddy. As the vet prepped the syringe to put him to sleep, I started sobbing. The vet gave me a couple minutes to collect myself and say goodbye. I held Teddy’s paw until he died. Honestly, I didn’t think I was that attached.
This experience led me to undertake experiments on animal-human relations to try to understand how animals make us care so much about them. Biologically, I wanted to know if pets cause the people to release oxytocin, known as the neurochemical of love, and traditionally associated with the nurturing of one’s offspring.
Oxytocin might explain why people spend thousands of dollars to treat a pet medically rather than euthanize it and simply get a new animal.
My lab at Claremont Graduate University in California pioneered the study of the chemical basis for human goodness. In the past decade, we have done dozens of studies showing that the brain produces the chemical oxytocin when someone treats us with kindness.
I call oxytocin the “moral molecule” because it motivates us to treat others with care and compassion. Oxytocin was classically associated with uterine contractions in humans, and in rodents caring for offspring. Our studies showed that a large number of agreeable human interactions—from trusting a stranger to hold money for you, to dancing, to meditating in a group—causes the release of oxytocin and, at least temporarily, makes us tangibly care about others, even complete strangers.
Written in the 1930s as letters to his godchildren, “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats” by T. S. Eliot is the collection of poems about feline life on which Andrew Lloyd Webber based his legendary musical “Cats”…
The Naming of Cats
The Old Gumbie Cat (Jennyanydots)
Growltiger’s Last Stand
The Rum Tum Tugge
The Song of the Jellicles
Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer
The Awefull Battle Of The Pekes And The Pollicles
Macavity: The Mystery Cat
Gus: The Theatre Cat
Bustopher Jones: The Cat about Town
Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat
The Ad-dressing of Cats
On behalf of the entire staff at the El Segundo Animal Hospital, I would like to extend a wholehearted welcome to ESAH’s newest associate veterinarian, Victor Ramirez, DVM.
A native of Los Angeles, Dr. Ramirez matriculated at the University of California, Davis, and upon graduation returned to Southern California to attend the Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona. After graduating from Western, Dr. Ramirez worked as an associate in an animal hospital in Anaheim before joining the ESAH team.
Dr. Ramirez brings with him a clinically tested and proven depth of knowledge, and an unparalleled work ethic. I am very pleased to extend him a warm welcome and could not be happier he elected to become a part of our family here at the ESAH.
Andrew M. Streiber, DVM