|Human-Animal Bond Definitions
Human-Animal Bond Books
History of Human-Animal Bond
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|Your Colleagues' Comments
"Looking at the animal in isolation, out of the context of the family,
is a mistake."
"The bond between people and animals is the primary basis for our
"The importance of the human-animal bond is finally being recognized
openly by the veterinary profession and by the field of veterinary medical
education. As best I can recall, none of my professors from 1967 to 1971
told my classmates or me to acknowledge the needs of our clients as well
as the needs of our patients. After graduation, we learned by trial and
error that our compassion for our clients---not just for our patients---determined
our success and professional satisfaction."
"Ms. Jones does not care what the problem means to us. Nor does
she particularly care what the problem may mean to Spotty's liver or heart,
either. She wants to know what the problem will mean to her animal and
to herself. What medical professionals see as clinical signs of medical
problems, clients often see as changes in their animals' behavior. Entwined
with these behavioral changes are changes in the human-animal relationship.
For example, when Spotty awakens Ms. Jones with his coughing in the middle
of the night, the disruption angers her and she yells at him to stop it.
When the coughing persists, the memory of her angry outburst makes her
feel guilty. When Spotty continues coughing, worry followed by fear that
he may be suffering form serious problem joins the anger and guilt. Thus,
what a scientist would consider an emotionally neutral sign---coughing---has
elicited a spectrum of emotions in the owner.
"Veterinary colleges have an obligation to ensure that students
have the knowledge and skills to promote this bond. It is especially important
that veterinary teaching hospitals actively engage student in the principles
of a "bond-centered" practice which include the best practices
in client service...If we want our veterinary students to truly embrace
the human animal bond, veterinary teaching hospitals must be models of
excellent behavior. We can no longer accept the idea that students think
that teaching hospitals are somehow different from the "real world."
"Having graduated 30 years ago from a prestigious and progressive
college of veterinary medicine, I felt I was trained for the medical challenges
ahead. I never really thought about my ability to deal with distraught
clients or with issues of pet loss. It seemed rather simple: pets lived,
pets died, and in between, I tried to make things better for the animals.
It was not considered part of my job description to dwell on owners' problems
and, even if it was in my job duties, I had absolutely no exposure to
the proper techniques and strategies I could use to deal with these issues.
Times have changed, though, and now veterinary medicine must accept the
challenge of meeting our clients' needs as well as caring for their pets."