Jan 03 2014

Reflections on the Human-Animal Bond

Peek-a-booA few weeks ago I received the news that good friends of ours said goodbye to one of their beloved fur-babies, Echo the beagle.  Echo had been diagnosed with liver cancer six months ago; it had become clear that it was time to relieve her suffering.  Although this decision was met with great sadness, in the days that followed all of Echo’s various exploits and funny mannerisms came to light.  My friend stated she was positive Echo had found someone to ‘boss around’ in that baying beagle way of hers in doggie heaven!   Then we all puzzled on who was now going to clean up backyard ‘poopiscles’, a favourite treat of hers!

I think I speak for everyone on the Kortright team when I say that we have had some tough goodbyes this season. However, I think I also speak for us in that we are constantly astounded by the depth of joy and even laughter that is evoked remembering our furry loved ones and their antics.  As pet owners, we all know the positive impact and often therapeutic effect of the human-animal bond.  But in witnessing the goodbyes of others and perhaps even our own, the power of this bond is brought into stark light.


So, this seems an appropriate time of year to be thankful for all that our furry companions provide us – emotionally, psychologically, physically, and spiritually. We’d like to share a few anecdotes celebrating this human-animal bond.  Please, feel free to share some of your own with us!

  • More than one clients’ confession: they haven’t used the top floor of their house regularly for months, as it is very difficult for their senior dog to get up the stairs. Bungalow living!
  • The best part about the office area at the clinic? Dr. Kraft’s Jack (lab) and Dr. Hunter’s Sammi (cocker spaniel) hanging out, getting underfoot and of course giving lots of bum wiggles/nose kisses! That is bound to make you smile!
  • The fact one of our client’s brings her guinea pig to visit Santa!
  • One of our proud fur- parents bringing by his copy of the Guelph Humane Society Calendar for us to browse, as his little girl is featured!
  • Do you know how much walking some of our doggie patients get per day? Fur-parents re-arranging their schedule to walk 2-3 hours daily!
  • The little things that make us laugh, like a client telling us the other day the most recent attention-seeking strategy of their dog: pulling rolls of toilet paper around the house!
  • Dedicated acupuncture, underwater-treadmill, and massage therapy sessions our clients pursue with their senior pets
  • One of our clients diligently giving the family rat pain medication every eight hours – even setting the alarm for the wee hours to ensure the rat’s comfort.
  • The often daily, detailed logs and email updates our clients provide us with when dealing with more difficult or chronic health conditions.


To end with a quote: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated” – Mahatma Gandhi

Perhaps in treating our animals well, we are just returning them the favour of all they provide us.


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