Thinking about the Human-Animal Bond

Cortney Wedding
Ambassador Cortney (right) with her two best friends: her husband and her dog, who was a guest of honor at her wedding.

This semester, we had some new artwork installed in Veterinary & Biomedical Education Complex (VBEC) with the underlying theme being “the human-animal bond.” These pieces depict animals and humans interacting with one another in various, mutually benefical ways. What is the human-animal bond though? We learn in veterinary school that the human-animal bond is the dynamic relationship between humans and animals that adds to the health of both in ways such as emotional, physical, and mental well-being. Understanding the human-animal bond and its importance is a crucial part of practicing veterinary medicine.

I, like many pet owners, care about my pets very deeply and am so thankful to have them in my life. I got my pup when I was 14 years old and she was only 8 weeks old. She is turning 9 years old next month and has been with me through so much. She’s been my study buddy through my undergraduate education and, now, in vet school; moved to different cities with me; helped me get through some heart breaks; and she even attended my wedding as a guest of honor last year. After a long day at school, nothing brightens my day more than coming home to her sweet puppy kisses and excited tail wagging. When I think about the human-animal bond, she’s always the first thing that pops into my mind. I know that we are both living much better lives because we have one another.

It is so easy to get caught up in vet school (and in practice) and forget why we do what we do. Sometimes it gets downright exhausting and you start questioning why you’re even pursuing this field. In those moments, all I have to do is look at my pup curled up in my lap and I know why. We don’t do this for money or notoriety, we do this to help animals and the people who care about them. We do this so that a little girl or boy can experience the invaluable true friendship of a dog, cat, or horse. Here at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, we’re working to improve the lives of people and animals alike. So, the next time you are in VBEC, take some time to look around at the artwork that line the halls of the VENI Building and see the human-animal bond perfectly captured. I think you’ll like what you see!