The aim of this study was to better understand the general beliefs and attitudes toward companion animals in Puerto Rico. This relationship becoming a possible source of wellbeing and a therapeutic catalytic tool in our participant life’s. Data was collected using an auto- administered questionnaire developed by the authors. The target populations of this survey were Puerto Rican residents, aged at least over 21 years. The total data collected was a total of 1,327 responses. The results shows that 84% of the participants indicated they have an animal companions in their home, only 16% said they have none. Almost 82% participants currently have a total of 4 (mean = 3.8) animal companions. The majority (39%) of the participants indicated that they spend 12 hours or more with their companion animals. Concerning activities with their companion animal’s participants said that they stroked (94%), played (92%), talked (89%) and walked (57%) their companion animals. Concerning the human animal bond, participants rated their companion animals as extremely important (72%), very important (24%), neutral (4%), not that important (0.4%), and not important (0.1%). They also rated their companion animals as family members (99%). The results of this study align with other research on the topic that show that human animal interaction enhance and facilitate positive traits in us (Hediger and Turner, 2014). This in turn becomes a fundamental opportunity in the work of counseling psychology within the context of psychotherapy to create more effective interventions and take into account a very important relationship in the participant’s life. Companion animals should become part of the factors we consider when working and developing therapeutic plans for our participants (Thew, Marco, Erdman and Caro, 2015).
The long-term effects of early traumatic experiences in humans and some nonhuman animals are well documented. This study explored the role of a past history on the social behavior of cows and pigs in the sanctuary setting. Subjects were cows (N=8) and pigs (N = 10) housed at the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. The researchers recorded all social behavior amongst conspecifics and categorized behavior as either affiliative or agonistic. Social behavior was compared amongst animals divided into groups according to their previous setting (beef vs. dairy cows, free range vs. intensively farmed vs. neglected pet pigs). In both species, affiliation behavior showed clear differences based on past experience. Beef cows were significantly more affiliative than cows kept for dairy. Pigs raised in free-range settings showed significantly more affiliation than pigs from intensive farms or neglected pets, with the latter two groups showing no affiliation at all. Altogether, these results show a link between past experience and later social behavior, emphasizing the potential for both of these farmed species to experience long term psychological impacts as the result of traumatic experiences in the early settings they are placed in by humans.