Puppies Don’t Do Politics

Admit it, the puppy picture made you click! Cute animals attract everyone, and there is not tension or disagreement when you embrace that cuteness.  Cute animals bring us together, and that can be a good thing.

National Puppy Day was celebrated this week, everywhere you turned someone was holding a cute puppy. The day was created in 2006 by Colleen Paige, an author who also calls herself a pet and family lifestyle expert. The idea was to encourage puppy adoption and bring awareness regarding puppy mills. Since Twitter and Facebook this day has become an international movement, just check out #NationalPuppyDay. You will find pictures and tweets from celebs and just people who love their dog. I admit to being one of those! My Facebook feed was filled with puppy pictures from friends and news organizations. Watching the morning news programs, all I saw were puppies!

 

Today Show National Puppy Day

CBS National Puppy Day

This got me thinking, why are there so many animals in the news lately?  I asked my students, they said it was a break from reality. There is so much negative news that the cute or funny animal video reminds them life is good. It is a stress reliever of sorts. It is a way for them to stop thinking about the seriousness of life, even just for a few moments.

Business Insider: Why We Love Cute Animals

This feeling is actually backed up by science. Researchers at CalTech found people are hardwired to respond to animals. In fact, the research found the part of the brain that is known to be responsible for emotional reaction lights up when the person is shown an animal. ABC News did a story on the study, read for yourself:

ABC News: Why People Love Pets

A more in-depth look at the study can be found here:

Science Daily: Animals Effect Our Brains

So we know the videos get a response, so is that why they are featured in the news so often? When it comes to unlikely animal pairings, there is a special response. Not just because the animals are cute and the pairing is unexpected, but as The New York Times article points out, on some level people can relate and want their species to get along better. It is a metaphor of sorts that crossing cultures can work out.

NY Times: Strange Animal Connections

Then you have the animal webcams, why do we sit at our computers for hours? Some experts argue they make us feel good, and that in turn becomes like a drug.

Seeker.com: The Lure of Animal Webcams

I will admit to loving the National Zoo Panda Cam.

National Zoo Panda Cam

How many hours have you spent waiting for April the Giraffe to give birth, when I last checked into the webcam there were nearly 80,000 people watching?

 

The videos can bring is a sense of awe and levity. My students made me promise to share this ten-year-old video of a bear and a trampoline. The bear was fine by the way.

 

Can you blame the media for tapping into the emotional connection people have with animals?  Could it be that even though there are differences between dog and cat people that humans have a special relationship with animals? Is it one area where we can agree, animals are cute and amazing? If someone gives you a hard time about watching animal videos online, well research shows it is actually good for you.

Daily Mail: Pictures of Baby Animals Improve Concentration

NBC News: Watching Cat Videos is Good For You

Washington Post: Why Do We Love Our Pets?

Business Insider: We Love Cute Animal Videos

So my questions this week, why do you watch animal stories?

Do you wait through commercial breaks if the animal story is teased?

Is it really such a bad thing that we have found something everyone can relate to?  We have all had a bad day, but this Jack Russell reminds us to just keep going. The world fell in love with this clumsy dog!

We have all had a bad day, but this Jack Russell reminds us to just keep going. The world fell in love with this clumsy dog!

Animals are cute and fun, and I enjoy the distraction! So just like National Puppy Day has turned into an excuse to look at cute puppy pictures, this blog has turned into an excuse to watch cut animal videos.

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