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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Animal attraction: New book explores biological bond between humans, animals

Written by Lauren La Rose, THE CANADIAN PRESS

"Ever wondered why it feels so good to curl up with your pet, whether you're stroking your dog's fur or cuddling your cat?

As it turns out, animal attraction could be more than skin deep.

Meg Daley Olmert explores the connection between animal lovers and their creature companions in her new book, "Made for Each Other: The Biology of the Human-Animal Bond" (Da Capo Press).

Olmert conducted an interview with a Pennsylvania psychiatrist who was working with young boys with severe forms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. He paired the children with rabbits, turtles, gerbils and doves and found the animals' presence made them calmer and more attentive.

She then read a New York Times article about oxytocin, a hormone used clinically to help begin or continue labour and stimulate breast milk secretion.

The article was about research which showed oxytocin was capable of creating monogamous social bonds and parental devotion in a species of rodent. Olmert also writes about a study which showed high levels of oxytocin in lactating women made them feel calmer and more sociable.

Olmert then worked with three scientists she said pioneered biology of bonding research: Dr. Cort Pedersen of the University of North Carolina, Carol Sue Carter of the University of Maryland and Dr. Kerstin Uvnas-Moberg of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.

She collaborated on writing and research projects with the latter two, and researched oxytocin to investigate whether animals can produce the hormone's bonding chemistry in humans.

Olmert writes that she got her answer in 2003 when two South African researchers measured the blood pressure and blood chemistry of 18 humans and dogs before, during and after they had interactions. Researchers found blood pressure decreased in both humans and dogs and oxytocin levels nearly doubled."

To read the entire article about the biological bond between humans and animals go to:


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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed

Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia

A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed

Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein

The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi

The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller

Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.