By: Christina Shirley ’18
Whether it’s a hug from a friend or a romantic dinner with a significant other, humans have a variety of different ways they can show their love for each other. But humans aren’t the only ones who have a visible way of showing their affection. Each species of animal has unique ways of showing their love. Knowing these ways helps give humans an insight to how animals show their emotions.
Dr. Marty Becker, a famous veterinarian and New York Times best selling author of From Fearful to Free and The Healing Power of Pets, has spent his life studying animals and observing their interactions with others. He suggest that one of the biggest ways dogs and cats show their love to their owners is through eye contact. When a dog or cat feels a strong connection to an owner or caregiver, they will maintain eye contact and focus when together. He believes this signifies comfort in the relationship and is a way for animals to say “I trust you.”
Although traditional household pets have a more visible way of showing their love, other animals have a variety of ways they show love to fellow animals of the same species. Swans, an animal often associated with love and romance, are often considered “lifelong mates.” They show their love for their mate by touching heads and bringing them together to make a heart shape with their necks. If one partner dies, swans do not mate or connect with any other swan and they are often known to die without the presence of their mate.
Milla Corajoria ‘18 said, “I’ve had my pet bird since I was four and whenever I take her out of the cage she follows me from room to room around my house. She’s always done it and I think it’s her way of showing her affection. Also, birds are known to nibble if a human puts a hand near their beak, but after a few months of having my bird, she let me hand feed her with my fingers and she’s become incredibly gentle.”
The diverse ways animals show affection give them a chance to spread love among each other and to humans. It is interesting to be aware of these ways so people can recognize the deep bonds formed between animals and with humans