A leading anthrozoologist and the bestselling author of Dog Sense and Cat Sense explains why we are so drawn to pets.
Historically, we relied on our pets to herd livestock, guard homes, and catch pests. But most of us don't need animals to do these things anymore. Pets have never been less necessary. And yet, pet ownership has never been more common than it is today: half of American households contain a cat, a dog, or both. Why are pets still around?
In The Animals Among Us, John Bradshaw, one of the world's leading authorities on the relationship between humans and animals, argues that pet ownership is actually an intrinsic part of human nature. He explains how our empathy with animals evolved into a desire for pets, why we still welcome them into our families, and why we mourn them so deeply when they die.
Drawing on the latest research in biology and psychology, as well as fields as diverse as robotics and musicology, The Animals Among Us is a surprising and affectionate history of humanity's best friends.
About the Author
John Bradshaw is the foundation director of the Anthrozoology Institute at the University of Bristol, and author of the New York Times bestsellers Cat Sense and Dog Sense and coauthor of The Trainable Cat. He lives in Southampton, England.
"If you're comfortable with your own animality, The Animals Among Us can be your bestiary and breviary. I found Bradshaw's arguments about the domestication of animals and the origins of pet-keeping perfectly convincing; and his conclusion--that we have now co-evolved long enough with dogs, and to some extent with cats, for it to constitute an effective symbiosis --rather comforting."—Will Self, Guardian (UK), Book of the Day
"Bradshaw is a pioneer.... His answer...is richly, empathetically and affectionately respectful of the human-animal bond.... Readers may be less interested in themselves as pet owners, yet this is actually a bolder and more important book."—Sunday Times (UK)
"Bradshaw knows how to produce a well-written and accessible tome.... In one of the best and most thought-provoking parts of his book, [he] dissects the practice of anthropomorphism as a typically human attempt to understand the animals with which we live so intimately. He raises important questions about the greater significance of keeping pets and their benefits."—New Scientist
"Bradshaw's...gentle warmth and intelligence make the book enjoyable. A sound introduction to a relatively new area of study, both for those who share their households with animals and those who never would."—Kirkus
"A marvelous achievement, both scientifically accurate and delightfully accessible. If you like animals, have pets, or are simply curious how and why people and other species interact, you'll learn a lot from this book, and will have a great deal of fun doing so!" —David P. Barash, professor of psychology emeritus, University of Washington
"In The Animals Among Us, John Bradshaw integrates findings from the fields of anthropology, history, animal behavior, and evolutionary psychology to answer a fundamental mystery -- why do we love pets? Beautifully written by a pioneer in the study of human-animal relationships, this book is an intellectual treat that challenges the way we look at the animals in our lives." —Hal Herzog, author of, Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard To Think Straight About Animals
"The Animals Among Us reminds us that despite the unprecedented assault by humankind on free-ranging nonhuman animals during the present epoch called the Anthropocene, most humans are inherently attracted to other animals, especially the companions with whom we share our homes and hearts. Best-selling author John Bradshaw rightly argues that when we lose other animals, we lose parts of ourselves. As innate 'biophiliacs,' the chemistry we share with household companions makes us human, and this attraction can help serve to bridge the empathy gap so that we will then extend kindness and compassion to other animals with whom we're less familiar." —Marc Bekoff, author of, Canine Confidential: Why Dogs Do What They Do
"I read everything John Bradshaw writes. He is the professor you always wish you'd had: knowledgeable yet approachable, engaged and engaging. If you are in any way interested in the underpinnings of the human-animal relationship, this is the book for your bookshelf." —Alexandra Horowitz, author of, Inside a dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know
"What good are pets? John Bradshaw's affectionate investigation puts your favorite ideas to the test of science. We might not get the health benefits that were once thought important, but there are plenty of other reasons to love Fido. The Animals Among Us is a fond testament to our companion animals and our extraordinary relationships with them." —Richard Wrangham, author of, Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human
"Backed up by impeccable research...[an] excellent book.... Bradshaw
provides a convincing case that our fascination with the interior lives of
animals was an essential part of our evolutionary development."—The New Statesman (UK)
"[John Bradshaw's] new book is unlikely to disappoint many of his fans as he brings a light touch
and endearing personal details to what is actually a systematic and detailed
account of the origin and nature of human-animal interaction and emotional