Pheromones and Pets
Masson writes of a male cockatoo who rejected a beautiful female bird brought to him’ for companionship. Perplexed, the bird’s keeper introduced another female, this one in poor shape, wit...
Masson writes of a male cockatoo who rejected a beautiful female bird brought to him’ for companionship. Perplexed, the bird’s keeper introduced another female, this one in poor shape, with patchy plumage and dry, wrinkled skin. This time, the male was smitten: “The two birds immediately paired off and began rearing a series of baby cockatoos,” Masson says.
Could it be that while animals rely on pheromones to instigate such deeply primitive behaviors as mating, aggression, and dominance, they are also capable of feeling and expressing emotions through chemical communication? A human mother bonds with her baby through a pheromonal connection even before the infant is born. This bond translates into feelings of intense, unconditional love for her child before, during, and after its birth. Perhaps unconditional love of this nature is to be found in the animal world, too.
Questions such as these may one day be answered through pheromone research. Until that time, we can ponder the mysteries of how animals find each other, stay with each other, even fall in love and stay committed. In his poem “The Elephant Is Slow to Mate,” D. H. Lawrence describes the creature’s mating rituals with words often reserved for intimate encounters between people: “So slowly the great hot elephant hearts / grow full of desire, / and the great beasts mate in secret at last, / hiding their fire.” Learn more about pheromones at http://pheromones-work.weebly.com
Pets and People
Think for a moment about a special family pet, the one who day by day etched its personality into your heart. Were you and your pet communicating in ways that go beyond the obvious pat on the head or the happy wag of a tail.
The intimate connection between animals and their owners has become a popular topic. Some people claim they “speak” to their pets on a subconscious or extrasensory level. It has been shown that the presence of an animal to stroke or talk to can reduce a person’s blood pressure and instill a sense of pride.
Physician and author Larry Dossey writes in an article in Body Mind Spirit magazine: “Devotion to a pet, like a devotion to prayer, can bring about improvements in human nature, as seen in the dynamics of families. . . . Being around pets, like praying, brings out compassionate behavior in people.”
Pets seem to know what we’re feeling, too. Scientists have discovered that a dog’s highly refined sense of smell allows it to detect human emotions. A dog might avoid the company of an angry person or retreat from a threatening posture. In the popular Walt Disney movie 101 Dalmatians, a character says of the tale’s villainess, Cruella De Vil, “The dogs never liked her. Dogs have a sixth sense about that. They can smell ill intentions.”
Dogs also appear to be able to single out individuals with psychoses through their senses. For example, children with autism and other psychiatric disorders literally repel dogs with their breath. Dogs participating in such studies will veer away from the “abnormal” children, preferring to play with the healthy ones. What is it that the perceptive, odor-sensitive dog detects in the presence of someone with a psychiatric disorder? Does the animal sense something subliminal—a pheromone out of whack, perhaps?
People and animals have been connected for centuries. Beasts of burden made possible transport and agriculture and were a valued food source. The citizens of Mesopotamia bred sheep, the ancient Greeks and the Japanese kept dogs, the Norse shamans thought of their reindeer as spiritual companions.
The president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), believes that our transition from a hunter-gatherer way of life in the Stone Age to having pets in “R our homes is the result of intimate relationships with animals that occurred while they were still viewed as a means of convenience. Is it just the physical company of pets we seek or do ,5 we unknowingly communicate with them on levels triggered by pheromones chemistry?
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alexander P is a blogger who studies pheromones.