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Earthgirl's avatar

How do you explain people who seem to love animals more than people?

Asked by Earthgirl (11174 points ) July 11th, 2012

Ok, I know that human relationships are challenging and sometimes downright infuriating. It seems so much simpler to relate to animals who just ask for our affection and tending to their needs. They are so much simpler to keep happy. That said, it sounds as if I have answered my own question. But bear with me. I ask this based on a story I heard last weekend. A friend of the family had a nephew who wanted to be a veterinarian. The problem was that he could not bear to see animals in pain. So instead, he decided to join the medical profession for humans. He is now working in the emergency room and has no issues with seeing human beings in pain. Somehow that is easier for him to cope with.

My sister, an avowed cat lady, says that maybe it’s because animals are innocent and helpless. I don’t buy it. Still, she says, “I cannot bear it either”. She can’t explain why, she just feels that way and always has.

Can you offer any explanations of this? Reasons it may be so? I find it so hard to understand.

Of course I understand that some people have had very negative experiences with the human race. Let’s just exclude these people from our discussion as their feelings are infinitely understandable.

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24 Answers

Sunny2's avatar

The reason I hear given most is that animals give you unconditional and unquestioning love; that they are helpless without human intervention and care. In other words, you don’t have to take any crap from the animals and they will always love you if you take care of them. Human beings are more complicated and difficult. I put people before animals, but that’s just my position.

Coloma's avatar

I agree with innocent and unconditional love.
Bottom line. love is love!
There is no demarcation line, be it for people or animals. Love is not bias, if one loves an animal they are loving ALL life, and vice versa.

Why do you need to understand, it matters not.

Any “love” we give is viable and what we choose to lavish our love on is as individual as the person. People do not understand that love is love regardless of how it is expressed.
Loving an animal or a person is not a more or less, right or wrong dichotomy.

Love IS love in all it’s manifestations.

jordym84's avatar

Though I don’t hate animals by any means, I’m not a pet person at all and have trouble understanding the relationship some people have with their pets. With that said, I agree with @Sunny2…animals are innocent and they are what they are, they don’t pretend to be something else. As long as their basic needs are met, they’ll always act the same way towards those that love and care for them, which, I’m assuming, is why some people have a stronger affinity for animals than for humans.

Trillian's avatar

They have probably spent a few years interacting with peoplw on this planet and have come to a logical conclusion.

bookish1's avatar

This question, coupled with the ‘Mein Kampf’ question in General, reminded me that Hitler was a vegetarian and banned hunting in Germany…

head explodes

[Edit]: I am so not trying to flame here. It’s just an example of the most astonishing kind of cognitive dissonance that I can’t even begin to process… I adore animals and I am Hindu and have been vegetarian most of my life. And even though I tend toward misanthropy and cynicism, I’ll still support human rights before animal rights any day of the week.

rooeytoo's avatar

A lot of humans are conniving, judgmental, manipulative, mean, add any nasty descriptive you can think of, most animals on the other hand are not. End of story. But I don’t like seeing any creature suffer although I would rather ease the suffering of animals than humans, meaning I would rather be a vet than an MD. Some think that strange, but really why should anyone care, it is no one’s concern except my own.

cookieman's avatar

@Coloma: So I shouldn’t be concerned about my excessive love for cookies?

Earthgirl's avatar

Please understand that I am only saying that I find it strange that the person who wanted to be a vet but couldn’t watch animals suffer has no problem with seeing people suffer. He has no idea whether the people he sees in the emergency room are good or bad people. Just because they may not all be Mother Theresa doesn’t mean that they should suffer and be in pain and it’s ok. I don’t think he’s wrong of course to feel that way. I just find it strange is all. It’s a good thing that there are people who can deal with the stress and responsibility of caring for people and animals who need help and are in pain. What would we do withoiut them.

I am not asking for people to defend or attack and I am not defending or attacking myself.

marinelife's avatar

I am like this myself. You may not buy it, but your sister’s answer was the reason. Animals are completely innocent and human beings are usually the ones that inflict pain on them. Also, it is because you can’t comfort them verbally. They can’t speak of their pain and suffering.

I can totally understand the guy who could not be a vet, but could work in human medicine. I would be like that too.

Cruiser's avatar

Animals won’t cheat on you, rarely say a mean thing just to be mean, they aren’t vindictive or vengeful, they listen intently when you talk to them, will cuddle with you and kiss you 24/7. For some animal lovers….people just can’t compete!

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I am sometimes one of those people. I wouldn’t say I love animals more but I would say I feel worse for their suffering because, in so many ways, they cannot explain or understand what is happening to them and why we’re doing it to them.

Leanne1986's avatar

I find it easier to reason with humans when they are suffering, to reassure them that everything will be ok. You can’t do this easily with animals. Of course you can stroke them, talk softly to them, etc if you know they are in pain but they can’t understand your words in the way people can.

This is why I can’t bear to see animals in pain because I can’t reassure them in the same way as humans.

bookish1's avatar

@marinelife: This poster has been haunting me in the Metro for weeks now… “An animal doesn’t cry. It suffers in silence.”

Coloma's avatar

Well my dapper gander ” Marwyn” IS the BEST “man” I have ever known. Adores me, follows me everywhere, doesn’t mind living in a barn, eating the same bread and water and hearts of romaine, day after day after day, along with some chicken feed. lol
He is laundry free, never stays out all night, protects me from intruders, only drinks water, and has the sexiest orange feet and big orange knob. On his head. lolol

Yep, my love. ;-)

ucme's avatar

I just call them farmers, or sometimes yokels.

athenasgriffin's avatar

The reason it wouldn’t bother me to medically treat a human is that the human has consented to be treated in a way that the human fully understands will be painful. An animal gives no such consent, knows not of what will happen. For the same reason, I could never give painful medical treatment to a child or a mentally challenged person. It just doesn’t feel right to me to force anyone into pain, ever.

bookish1's avatar

@athenasgriffin: For that reason, it was so difficult for me to give medicine (pills and sometimes injections) to my cats. There’s no way to tell them that it will make them feel better, even though it sucks :’-(

athenasgriffin's avatar

@bookish1 I’m the same way with my cat. He has long fur, and occasionally he escapes to the great outdoors for a few minutes, and gets these huge burrs stuck in his coat, and I absolutely cannot stand pulling them out. He’s such a sweetheart about it though, rolls on his back and lets me. (Now put water into this equation and he is the devil incarnate. . .)

bookish1's avatar

@athenasgriffin : Aww, well grooming is a different matter! I’m sure he understands that. I still remember how my first girlfriend pulled ticks off an outdoor cat that I ended up adopting. She was so adorably grateful.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Explaining someone who prefers the company of animals is simple. People suck.

Explaining someone who can’t bear to see animals in pain is simple. Animals are innocent and can’t understand a verbal explanation of what is going on. Animals (and children) in pain break my heart so much more than adult humans.

Explaining someone who would save an animal’s life before a human’s is also simple. That person has fucked up priorities. :D

SavoirFaire's avatar

“The more I see of man, the more I like my dog.”
—Blaise Pascal (attributed)

Ponderer983's avatar

Many of the reasons that I feel explain this have been mentioned. They can not communicate to us everything that it is wrong, their love is unconditional, they can’t talk back to you yet they provide comfort.

And I’d like to add I can completely understand the whole wanting to be vet, then becoming an ER doctor. I wanted to become a vet when I was younger, then someone pointed out to me that I would also have to put animals down. That shattered the dream for me. I only thought about helping animals, not euthanizing them.

And as bad as this may make me look, I can watch those Children’s Fund commercials about donating “x” cents a day to feed a child and they show you these malnourished children on TV. But then show me the ASPCA commercial with Sarah McLaughlin singing “Angel” and I can’t watch. There is a helplessness about it that I can’t stand, and the fact that human DO THAT to animals. It’s not like the animals can better their situation, as they are human dependent. However, I feel as though people can rise out of their situations. I know it is hard, but you hear about people growing up poor and in bad conditions and they fight their way out.

Plus – humans blow!

Coloma's avatar

12 days ago my cat was bitten by a rattlesnake and it was so sad at the ER vet that night.
Another snake bit dog who was not doing well at all, several old pets in distress and dying, and the saddest, a family came in with their golden retriever who had been hit by a car. The mom & dad and 3 kids between maybe 6 and 12.

A little while later they carried him out in a cardboard coffin, they could hardly walk for their grief. The whole waiting room was in tears. Awful night, but my kitty is fine!

snapdragon24's avatar

Watch the Sopranos.

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