The Power of Friendship: Human-Animal Connection

The immense unconditional love and joy that our furred, feathered, scaly (and hooman) friends share with us should be celebrated daily but July 30th 2020 is the time to dish out a lil’ extra TLC as the United Nations remind us of the importance of International Friendship Day. To counteract a culturally complicated, challenged, and sometimes divided world (through poverty, violence, war, or human rights abuse amongst many others), the UN instead reminds us what unites us – “sharing the human spirit through friendship across all cultures”.

“Through friendship — by accumulating bonds of camaraderie and developing strong ties of trust — we can contribute to the fundamental shifts that are urgently needed to achieve lasting stability, weave a safety net that will protect us all, and generate passion for a better world where all are united for the greater good” – The United Nations

Love truly knows no bounds and the human-animal connection serves as proof that our innate differences can be no match for the power of friendship. Both society and individuals benefit from the happiness and good health that come from great friendships. Friendships strengthen our resilience providing high emotional, mental, and physical benefits just from adding a furred friend to your family.

“Friendship with other animals transcends the human experience.” ~ A.D. Williams

It’s a safe bet that most pet ‘paw-rents’ consider their furry loved one as their BFF (Best Furry/Feathery Friend). Somehow without the same words, there is a genuine mutual bond of respect, understanding, and trust. Whether you’re a self-pronounced ‘crazy cat lady’ (/cat purr-rent), prefer the company of a chatty feathered friend or an adorable guinea pig, or love the energy of a loyal pup, there really is an animal friend fit for all.

It is no wonder dogs are ‘(hu)man’s best friend’. It takes an extra special friend to keep us happy and healthy or notice when we’re down, dropping everything to comfort us. A friend who happily rolls with our plans every single day, and is unphased by our crazy and annoying traits. A friend who is endlessly delighted to see us. A friend who in hard times, without judgement or criticism, simply offers unconditional, endless love and support. This special companion brings out the best in us as all true friends should do. Some mates might help you drown your sorrows at a bar, but this friend encourages you to look after ourselves, stay motivated with your routine, be active and walk daily, keep smiling and laughing, all while gently reminding you that you are worthy and loveable. This my friends is the work of your loyal and beloved bestie, your pup.

Because dogs are the best people, some countries go all out to celebrate just this! Nepal dedicates an entire day at a five-day festival to thank dogs for their friendship and loyalty. The second day is called ‘Kukur Tihar or Kukur Puja’ – Worship of the Dogs. Pampered with delicious treats, decorations and marked with red powder to show sacredness, these pups are treated like the treasure they are.

Image courtesy of The MIND Unleashed

How to Celebrate Friendship Day:

Extra snuggles and naps

Research shows positive interactions like cuddling boosts the love hormone, oxytocin, for both pet and human, as well as strengthening bond. One study even found that cortisol stress hormone levels in dogs rose up and down simultaneously with their human’s. In summary, happy you = happy pooch!

Longer playtime/walkies

Some extra chin and belly rubs wouldn’t go astray!

Enjoy a delicious treat

We know our pets won’t argue with this one!

Purr-chase a present

Take the dog out for a puppy-cino. Get your kitty the biggest climbing/scratching post it never knew it wanted!

Pets turn a house into a home and never fail to keep smiles on our faces. Show appreciation for each other and celebrate your unique and special friendship this July (and always!)

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Dr Alex Hynes

Dr Alex Hynes

Veterinarian, Author and Educator with an extraordinary passion for animals, life and veterinary work both as the hospital director of one of Australia’s busiest emergency pet hospitals, Animal Emergency Service in Australia, and as an entrepreneur and media personality.

Dr Alex Hynes

Dr Alex Hynes

Veterinarian, Author and Educator with an extraordinary passion for animals, life and veterinary work both as the hospital director of one of Australia’s busiest emergency pet hospitals, Animal Emergency Service in Australia, and as an entrepreneur and media personality.

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