Human Beliefs and Companion Animal Weight

By Myrna Milani

Did you ever read something that made such infinitely good sense that you immediately incorporated it into your personal philosophy? That's what happened to me years ago when I was reading Norman Cousin's Celebration of Life: A Dialogue on Immortality and Infinity. (Harper and Row, 1974). In it he notes that, when we believe that the world is flat, the further apart two people move, the greater the distance between them. But once we realize that the world is round, the further apart they move, the closer they become. So it is with ideas, too, and there are many examples of this in the companion animal realm.

For example, consider the flat world of pet weight. In that world, we have the starving bag of bones at one end of the spectrum and the well-fed animal at the other. The people responsible for the bag of bones are inevitably viewed as abusers, and passionate calls for their punishment fill the media. Pictures of the sorry creatures appear in newspapers and on shelter websites; some animals even find themselves part of "real life" television shows that describe their wretched state and its aftermath. In such shows, a happy ending involves throwing the book at the evil perpetrator of the heinous crime while the pet goes to folks who would never do such a thing. In a bittersweet one, the perp is never caught, but the animal is saved and goes to a loving home In the worst scenario, the criminal gets away and the animal dies.

Going back to those happier endings, once in that loving home, the assumption is that the abused animal will then progress to the "good" end of the linear spectrum in this new environment. However, when we believe that the world is flat, that


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By Myrna Milani| April 01, 2006
Categories:  Care

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Myrna Milani

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