Animals. What is it about them that stirs in us the deepest lizard brain emotions?
It’s long been thought that humans "domesticated" the dog, but recent theory suggests that in actuality, we just started co-existing. Most likely as a result of some more savvy ancient wolves who realized they no longer needed to scavenge for food, they could just rely on the strange two-legged-furless-talky animal to give it to them. They didn’t need us, but they chose to be around us, thus, an ever-enduring partnership began.
There was never any hope that the animals that humans chose to exploit for whatever means would stay purely functional. That the dogs they began to breed for hunting, or trapping, or that the horses they utilized for tilling fields or pulling carts, or even the animals that became a food source, would remain solely functional.
As far back as we can trace, animals have also been a part of our hearts. From the worship of the cat in Ancient Egypt to the prehistoric graves of people who chose to be interned with their furry companions, the animals that frequented our daily lives were far from just functional. They were also pets.
It is against our basic human nature to not want to nurture another creature in some way. The bond that humans have had with animals has always been there, even if it hadn’t always been labelled, and they will continue to capture our hearts and minds for aeons to come. We live side by side with them and we call them family members. We care for them, feed them, house them, and love them. They are our best friends. They can melt the most hardened man’s heart and reduce him to tears of love. They can rescue us from dark places and they can rehabilitate our souls when broken. They save us from house fires, can detect cancer, alert us to danger, understand our emotions and snuggle with us on the sofa. And they do it all without question. We just have to sit back and accept it.
It is the very makeup of who we are as humans that allows us to share such bonds with other species and open our lives and homes to the animals we label as pets. Whether they be dog, cat, horse or bird, it’s safe to say that in reality, it’s us humans who need them. This is a very special FSC entry, because the following images are of the beloved companions that FSC members call family. And just as we would turn our lenses to other human members of our family, so to, do we turn our lenses to our furry or feathered members.
CJ is a fine art photographer in Europe, Australia and Africa, currently working on a number of limited edition collections and working on a photo project that focuses on empathy between humans and animals in East Africa. You can see more of her work here or follow @cjeklund on Instagram.