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Keeping pets is expensive, time-consuming, and seemingly irrational – so why do so many of us have an animal in our lives?
Modern-day pet-keeping has been justified for many reasons, from the potential therapeutic role pets can play, to their appealing 'cuteness'. But pet-keeping is much more than just a simple pastime. It is part of the broader history of humanity's relationship with animals – a relationship that comes from deep within our nature. As John Bradshaw reveals in this highly original new work, our connection with animals is one of the very things that makes us human.
In The Animals Among Us, Bradshaw takes us to the heart of Anthrozoology, a new science dedicated to discovering the true nature and depth of the human-animal bond. Following the thread of our affection for animals, from today's pet lovers all the way back to our ancient ancestors, Bradshaw reveals how animals have always been an integral part of our lives: indeed, they have shaped the evolution of our minds and our bodies. The ways in which we relate to animals today stem ultimately from our evolutionary journey from hominid to Homo sapiens.
An affinity for animals drove our evolution as humans. Now, as increasing numbers of species are under threat, John Bradshaw shows us that pet-keeping can act as a bridge between the domestic and the wild, even aiding conservation. If we lose the animals among us, he warns, we risk losing an essential part of ourselves.
John Bradshaw is Director of the Anthrozoology Institute at the University of Bristol, and author of the New York Times bestsellers Cat Sense and In Defence of Dogs, and co-author of The Trainable Cat. He lives in Southampton, England.
"A pioneering study [...] richly, empathetically and affectionately respectful of the human-animal bond"
– Sunday Times