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Comedians Will Ferrell and Jamie Foxx will soon voice adorable canines in the upcoming comedy film “Strays.” However, the underlying subject matter behind the film is far from comical. It’s a well-known fact that dogs feel love for their human companions, and when they are abandoned, they are left with a deep psychological trauma that can never fully heal. The scientific community agrees that dogs mirror the stress level of their owners, which makes abandonment all the more devastating for these animals.
According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), there were approximately 85.8 million domestic cats and 78 million domestic dogs in the United States in 2015-2016. Within this population, approximately 6.3 million animals enter U.S. shelters every year, 3.1 million of which are dogs. Roughly 920,000 of these shelter animals are euthanized, and millions of other dogs and cats are homeless, their fate unknown.
Life as a stray animal is difficult, to say the least. These animals are susceptible to diseases and infectious parasites, and they are frequently attacked by both humans and other animals. In addition, they are often struck by cars and exposed to extreme weather conditions. They are also prone to accidentally harming themselves by eating and drinking substances that are dangerous to them.
Dogs, in particular, endure a terrible emotional toll after being abandoned. Studies have shown that dogs’ long-term stress levels are synchronized with their owners’ stress levels, as cortisol levels in dogs’ hair follicles correlate with those in humans. Similarly, the hormone oxytocin increases when humans and their dogs interact, helping to reinforce the bond between humans and their pets.
Cats are also emotionally bonded to their human companions, even though they are not innate pack animals like humans. Domesticated cats have evolved to seek human friendships and appreciate human interactions. For example, a study in the journal Animal Cognition revealed that cats can distinguish between individual human beings and develop a special bond with them.
When a bond between a dog and a human or a cat and a human is suddenly broken, it does more than ruin the life of the pet in question. Humans also frequently suffer from emotional distress after abandoning an animal, even in situations where they have no choice.
The key change that must occur in society to end the problem of abandoned animals is for humans to think carefully before acquiring a pet. We must be prepared to provide care for the pet throughout its entire life, even in the face of unforeseen circumstances.
In conclusion, abandoning a pet causes emotional trauma to the animal, their owners, and their families. Therefore, it is our collective responsibility to provide a safe and loving environment for our pets throughout their lives. Before getting a pet, we must carefully consider whether we have the means and resources to care for them, regardless of the circumstances. By adopting a responsible attitude towards pet ownership, we can reduce the number of abandoned pets and promote animal welfare.
To help the cause, we can Support organizations such as Four Paws, a charity that focuses on animal welfare for species that interact with humans. We can also spread awareness of the issue through social media and volunteering at animal shelters. Let’s work together to create a world where pets are not abandoned but are instead loved and cherished for their entire lives.
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