Friday, March 13, 2009

Emotion in animals

Do animals have emotions, as human beings understand it? It is a debatable topic. Different people have different ideas and they put forth reasons supporting their views. I personally would like to believe that emotional feelings is also a feature of animal mind, at least it should be there in higher mammals. The scientific reason behind this being that emotions arise in limbic system which humans share with other mammals as well. Recent scientific experiments also suggest that in case of primates and canines only emotion can explain certain behavioral traits. However it is hard to resolve the ambiguity completely as we can neither obtain spoken answers, nor assume anthropomorphism.

Whether animals have emotions or not, they are used, in many cases now-a-days, as emotional supports for humans, therapeutically. Animals have, for long, been known to provide physical and emotional aid to disabled people. However, these days physicians are actually prescribing pets like dogs, cats, birds, etc. to help with a variety of ailments. It is believed that pet's ownership makes a person more active, increasing physical activity on a daily basis thus reducing stress, blood pressure, lowering cholesterol etc. as physical benefits. Moreover, pets' unconditional love and acceptance solve many societal issues for people living alone or who don't have any close relative with them.

Events like pet-shows act as a platform where pet owners, breeders and other businesses related to the pets get the chance to know each other. In Kolkata during December and January different kennel clubs arrange for dog shows and this years on 18th January I had the chance to be present in one such dog show organized by Calcutta Kennel Club. I am not a knowledgeable person about dogs and their different breeds. But I enjoyed being there, amidst so many different types of dogs. I enjoyed observing the expressions on their faces and took photographs of some of those expressive faces. One cannot miss to recognize the emotions painted on those faces.

I hope you will enjoy the photographs from the dog show in my Picasa album.

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