A recent post on The German Shepherd Dog Community Group asked why non-animal people consider animal loving folk, especially those who have quite a few pets, and/or are very passionate about pet rescue.... consider them "not normal".
Having animals or not is a personal decision but in the clinical sense, being "not normal" is more linked to aversion and hostility to animals rather than not. Many studies have shown a link between repeat and dangerous offenders and a childhood history of animal cruelty. Children who demonstrate compassion towards their pets have higher social and emotional intelligence for a reason. So, who is "not normal".
Humans and canines have been joined at the hip for quite a few centuries now and coincides with the evolution of humans. Cats also share a long history with people but as along as dogs. Dogs have been protecting humans for many an epoch. They still do. Cats started living with people and helped control the mouse and rat population. Overcrowding of rodents near residential properties is not a good thing.
If you think it's a sign of an imbalanced person to go above and beyond the call of duty like Jackie Vestel, then consider how far animals have gone for people. There have been strays who have rescued people from ditches or kept children warm through the night so the kids survived. Who is the "not normal" one? The one who understands loyalty or the one who has no concept of it?
While hoarding and leaving one's spouse in favor of rats is certainly extreme, what I am talking about here is simply, people who are like St. Francis, the Catholic Saint who felt that animals needed a voice and protection since they could not speak. Last I checked, animals do not harm unless they have to eat. Not so much with humans. So who is the better species?
My point is ... non-animal people with an active and strong dislike for pets are the ones who have something wrong with them. The more hostile they are the more maladaptive and maladjusted they could be in their life. Sometimes, non-animal people who actively dislike animals and admonish those who love them, lack a fundamental bonding ability which leaves them impaired.
Consider the agricultural period in the development of human civilization when our ancestors were dependent on farm animals for food and survival before the industrial revolution. When you hear the term "beasts of burden" it's not necessarily referring to the line in the Rolling Stones song. Rather, a description of how much farm animals were worked to keep homesteads afloat.
Notice how car commercials measure units of power in terms of horsepower. Why horsepower? How else do you think people moved goods and themselves across vast distances before we had access to a Mercedes? Horses were the main mode of transportation for centuries. Unlike the car, your horse loves you back, and doesn't digest expensive diesel.
Horses have been instrumental in the advancement of empires. It's NOT just a horse either. I have trained people to not ever ask me why I care so much about animals because they will get an earful. And most can't argue back.
Being human is about bonding. Through the human-animal bond a 20-year-old King in Macedonia began forging an Empire. If not for his horse, Alexander may not have been so Great. The man who changed the course of history in the ancient world credited his horse Bucephalus for his many victories in battle. By age 26, Alexander had conquered most of the known world at the time, with his horse. It's hard to tell if Alexander chose Bucephalus or vice-versa.
Alexander's steed rode into every battle with him. Only Alexander could ride Bucephalus. Legend has it that when Bucephalus went missing, Alexander demanded his return or else an entire country's fate would be doomed. That's how valuable Bucephalus was to Alexander. If you think some men are extreme in their love for a Mercedes, it's nothing compared to a K9 handler and his dog, or a mounted police officer and his horse. Remember, cars can't love you back but horses can heal. It's called Equine facilitated therapy.
So, if Alexander were alive today and in his prime, who would dare approach the legendary Macedonian King and say, "Alexander it's just a horse."
Before you think you are that daring ... just remember what Alexander said he would do if his horse wasn't returned to him.