Response to: Animals make us Human -Temple Grandin

One aspect I have really enjoyed throughout what I have read of Temple
Grandin’s book:  Animals Make Us Human is a look at the animal perspective through
the lens of an animal’s emotional mental systems. In her book she uses the
focus of six different domesticated species as well as some mention of wild
species in the final chapters to look at the emotional systems of these animals
and how a basic understanding of these can improve the treatment of the
mentioned species as well as the general relationships between humans and these
animals. As mentioned in the initial chapter it is estimated that over “85
million farm, laboratory, and zoo animals and pets worldwide have stereotypies”,
which is also defined in the chapter as any abnormal repetitive behavior which
is displayed by an animal. With so many animals suffering mental defects it is
important that anyone who has or works with animals can benefit from this text
and learn some new ways of perceiving the animals around them. Grandin in her
first chapter also mentions 7 distinct emotional systems present in animals. In
the case of pets such as dogs and cats it is especially important to focus on
the SEEKING, FEAR, and RAGE systems but of course all emotional systems are
important to consider. As it has been mentioned I work at a dog daycare as well
as have my own dog so I have frequent interactions with dogs of many breeds. I
have tried to take a lot of what I have learned from Grandin’s texts to improve
my ability to interact and provided a healthy, happy environment for these
animals. One of the biggest things I have changed is trying to look more at
what a dog is looking at, trying to better understand what environmental
stimulus is motivating a dog’s emotional systems it has been easier to calm and
interact with the dogs at my work. My work is located in view of the train
tracks and many trains pass often pass multiple times a day. It is only till
recently after reading this book I have noticed a lot more dogs who are
bothered by the train. Which makes sense because if I was a dog I would also be
very uncertain of the giant howling metal dragon which is rushing along my field
of vision. I imagine dogs are very uncertain of whether the train will just
keep going or if at any minute it could spontaneously turn and begin to head
for the dog. Dogs I have noticed often look to you for reassurance that their
environment is ok and that they are behaving properly in it. It is only without
that participation and guidance where you begin to see a dog who gives into his
or hers more negative based emotional systems. In the chapter on horses there
is mention that there has been attempts to domesticate over 148 mammal species throughout
human history but successful domestication has only happened for around 14
species. Human animal relationships are very delicate relationships which take
a lot of effort which as Grandin has a great way of displaying that often the
average person is not giving near that right level of effort.

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