The bestselling author of Dog Sense and Cat Sense explains why living with animals has always been a fundamental aspect of being human.
Pets have never been more popular. Over half of American households share their home with either a cat or a dog, and many contain both. This is a huge change from only a century ago, when the majority of domestic cats and dogs were working animals, keeping rodents at bay, guarding property, herding sheep. Nowadays, most are valued solely for the companionship they provide. As mankind becomes progressively more urban and detached from nature, we seem to be clinging to the animals that served us well in the past.
In The Animals Among Us, anthrozoologist John Bradshaw argues that pet-keeping is nothing less than an intrinsic part of human nature. An affinity for animals drove our evolution and now, without animals around us, we risk losing an essential part of ourselves.
John Bradshaw is the foundation director of the Anthrozoology Institute at the University of Bristol, and author of the New York Times bestsellers Cat Sense and Dog Sense and coauthor of The Trainable Cat. He lives in Southampton, England.