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Get to know the emotional life of your pet

Thank you to Marcela García for her delightful column on her challenging new puppy, Benito (“Should I put my puppy on Prozac?,” Opinion, Nov. 21). I don’t know where my life would be without dogs. I currently own a 14-year-old Spaniel mix who came from Puerto Rico, a “sato” dog (Puerto Rican slang for a stray) found in a dump. Needless to say, she came with a good-sized set of emotional baggage. We took the training route too. It was time-consuming but so rewarding.

I assume that my dog has a complex emotional life and that, more often than not, we understand each other because of our emotional similarities. García sounds somewhat apologetic for coddling and celebrating her two dogs, for “quasi-humanizing” them. Yes, people can take it too far and thrust their puppy love onto others who don’t share the same canine enthusiasm. But I also believe that it is healthy for more and more people to understand the emotional lives of a different species.


Science is finally agreeing that an increasing number of creatures have emotions. When more of us humans recognize this, perhaps it will become less desirable for us to turn other species into objects so as to “manage” them better or for maximum profit, as we too often do to chickens, pigs, lab mice, and, let’s face it, all other living beings. Let us hope so.

Jana Howe

Merrimack, N.H.