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Cleveland.com: Human-Animal Bond Benefits


We made the front page of the Life section of the print version of Sun News on February 16, 2023. This is a first for us!

Shirley MacFarland, Columnist for the Sun News/cleveland.com, saw our blog post The Power of the Human-Animal Bond in a recent newsletter.

She thought this would be a great feature article for Sun News reaching a broader audience through the larger distribution of print media and on the Cleveland.com website.

She wrote, "Your article made it to the cover of the Life section which goes to all the Sun News subscribers throughout the Cleveland area - circulation over 1.2 million. cleveland.com has a readership of 9.9 million. "

Wow! We are thrilled that we made the front cover and that we're able to spread the good news about living with a pet.

Here's the link to the "The power of the human-animal bond" article on Cleveland.com.

The Human-Animal Bond

As a veterinarian, I know all too well how strong that emotional bond can be with animals.

Many years ago when I was volunteering for the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, a colleague told us, "People will bond with just about anything." He told us the story of one client who came to his practice with their pet tarantula. Their problem? One of the legs came off and they wanted the veterinarian to put the leg back on. Nothing prepares us for unusual requests like that! 

The story illustrates that people may have unusual pets and that they can form extremely strong bonds with them.

Here at One Health Organization, we know that dogs and cats are the most popular pets and that most veterinarians are very familiar with the care these creatures need. Tarantulas? Not so much. 


I commonly ask people if they have pets. For those who say yes, or indicate that they used to have pets, it's a great conversation starter. These people will have a story that goes along with each pet in the household. Often, they'll bring out their smartphone to show you a picture of their pet and tell you a story about them.

If the conversation stops with a simple yes, then you can ask follow-up questions.

  • What kind of pet do you have?
  • I'd love to see a picture. Do you have one I can see?
  • Where did you get your pet?
  • How were the first few days or weeks when you first brought your pet into your home?
  • Do you have a routine with them?
  • What fun things do you like to do with them? 

These kinds of questions give you insight into their personal lives and the bond they have with their pets. It's a way for you to get to know others on a deeper level and for them to connect with you and others. 

Having said that, I have had difficult conversations with people who have burst into tears because they had such a strong bond with their pet, that they're still grieving the loss of a pet, even years later. And they have a hard time talking about them. Be kind and let them share their story if they wish and be sympathetic to their feelings.

For those who say no - they don't have a pet or never had a pet - you could ask different questions, or you may simply choose to try a different topic of conversation.

You can find stories throughout our website, such as success stories of people who have benefited from using Vouchers to help them pay for veterinary care, as well as stories of people in need.

Getting Involved

If you like this story and support the mission of One Health Organization, you might feel inspired to get involved by making a gift and/or volunteering your time.

Learn More About  How You Can Get Involved