Pulse - July 2021 - 12

The RVT and the
Human-Animal Bond
Exploring the
Interspecies
Connection
by Joseph G. Herman, BS, RVT
T
here was a recent news story on TV showing a 17-year-old girl charging a massive
black bear that was after the family's dogs. Without even pausing, the girl actually
pushed the bear off the backyard wall. It wasn't rational. It made no sense.
Although the girl later recommended against going one-on-one with a bear, at the
moment when it happened, all that mattered was that the dogs were safe.
Understanding this type of " unconditional love " between one human and another has
never been easy. But, dealing with this emotion in the veterinary setting is even more
challenging. This is because veterinary medicine is a business, and as with any business, it
can be nonproductive to let emotions get in the way.
Zero Degrees of Separation
This intense relationship between humans and animals is nothing new. Humans are,
after all, animals. Archeologists once unearthed the remains of a 14,000-year-old human
discovered with its arms wrapped around a dog's skeleton.
Yet, despite the prevalence of the " human-animal bond, " discussion of this emotion
and its relevance to veterinary medicine was nonexistent until the early 1980s. The phrase
was coined by Leo K. Bustad, DVM, once dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at
Washington State University. It was based on the concept of the " mother-child bond. "
Scholarly attention toward the human-animal bond at that time was, in fact, so limited
that Dr. Bustad commented, " So few people were studying the human-animal bond, they
could all be wiped out in one automobile accident. "
From Property to Family Member
Changes in societal patterns and attitudes are placing companion animals more in the
foreground of people's thoughts, emotions, and actions, and the implications for modernday
veterinary medicine are great.
People are having fewer children and, as a result, often consider their pets to be " surrogate
children, " full-fledged members of the family. The days of viewing pets as property are waning,
if not already gone. As such, expectations among clients regarding treatments offered
and outcomes obtained are beginning to rival those found in human medicine. Many (if not
most) clients-at least those who can afford it-expect the best, most comprehensive care
possible for their pet, and often are not prepared or willing to accept anything less.
12
JULY 2021
PULSE
yz

Pulse - July 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pulse - July 2021

Pulse - July 2021
Chapter Meetings & Calendar
President’s Perspective
SCVMA Profile
Pulsepoints
The RVT and the Human- Animal Bond: Exploring the Interspecies Connection
Practical Pathology
Medical Leeway
UC Davis Update
Tools For Success
Angel Fund
Dear Tabby
The RVT
Industry Insights
Quick Reference
AVMA Diplomates
Digital Photography For Veterinarians
Resources
Disease Table
From The SCVMA Office
Pulse - July 2021 - Pulse - July 2021
Pulse - July 2021 - Cover2
Pulse - July 2021 - 1
Pulse - July 2021 - 2
Pulse - July 2021 - Chapter Meetings & Calendar
Pulse - July 2021 - President’s Perspective
Pulse - July 2021 - SCVMA Profile
Pulse - July 2021 - Pulsepoints
Pulse - July 2021 - 7
Pulse - July 2021 - 8
Pulse - July 2021 - 9
Pulse - July 2021 - 10
Pulse - July 2021 - 11
Pulse - July 2021 - The RVT and the Human- Animal Bond: Exploring the Interspecies Connection
Pulse - July 2021 - 13
Pulse - July 2021 - 14
Pulse - July 2021 - Practical Pathology
Pulse - July 2021 - Medical Leeway
Pulse - July 2021 - UC Davis Update
Pulse - July 2021 - Tools For Success
Pulse - July 2021 - Angel Fund
Pulse - July 2021 - Dear Tabby
Pulse - July 2021 - The RVT
Pulse - July 2021 - Industry Insights
Pulse - July 2021 - Quick Reference
Pulse - July 2021 - AVMA Diplomates
Pulse - July 2021 - Digital Photography For Veterinarians
Pulse - July 2021 - 26
Pulse - July 2021 - 27
Pulse - July 2021 - 28
Pulse - July 2021 - Resources
Pulse - July 2021 - Disease Table
Pulse - July 2021 - 31
Pulse - July 2021 - 32
Pulse - July 2021 - 33
Pulse - July 2021 - 34
Pulse - July 2021 - 35
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Pulse - July 2021 - From The SCVMA Office
Pulse - July 2021 - Cover3
Pulse - July 2021 - Cover4
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