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Patty’s Ponderings-Dog vs Man

Man walking his dog (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Quite often when I begin one of these blog pieces, I start out in one place and end up in a completely different zone. Let me try to explain.

I came across an article about a university study which ultimately demonstrated human’s love for their pets. I contemplated the conclusions reached by the study and thought it would make an interesting question to pose here; “A bus is speeding toward a dog and a human, you have the capability to save one of them. Which do you save?”

Without exception the participants in this study asked the question, “what kind of human and what kind of dog?” When the hypothetical human was a grandparent, sibling or close friend, overwhelmingly people chose to save the person. But, when it was your own dog, people, (in particular, female people); vigorously elected to save the dog over a human that was unknown to them. These conclusions were then tied to a study on the billions of dollars which Americans spend on their pets every year.

Interesting, huh? Being the inquisitive person that I am, I wanted to know more. I desired to see the original study, which I found. This led me on an extremely circuitous route to a conservative political website, where I found this article.

Conservative columnist and syndicated talk-show host, Dennis Prager, drew completely different conclusions from this study than did I. His analysis of this hypothetical situation is that people would choose to save an animal over a human being because we have lost our moral values. He perceives this as a societal ill brought on by the failing of our educational system to teach, “that human beings are created in God’s image and animals are not.”

I read his well-written, philosophical and completely one-sided column with relish and some resentment. Silly me! I thought all this study achieved was putting a bright spotlight on our devotion to our pets, not signal the downfall of humanity!

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