The beautiful relationship between humans and their pets

Photo by 123RF
Photo by 123RF

The beautiful relationship between humans and their pets

by Jennifer Brown
Stripes Okinawa

Editor’s note: At Stripes Okinawa, we love to share your stories and share this space with our community members. Here is an article written by Jennifer Brown, a hospital corpsman at U.S. Naval Medical Center San Diego. If you have a story or photos to share, let us know at


When I think about my best friend, two individuals pop into my head. One is my best human friend, Emily, and the other is my best bud, Spunky the cat. I have always had a love for animals and pets were always around my home when I was growing up. I had dogs, cats, guinea pigs and fish. However, every animal I met I wanted to keep! For me, being an animal lover also makes you a special kind of person. In fact, there is a really amazing relationship we have as humans with animals. Animals can support us, protect us, and can form bonds similar to those we form with other people.

            Spending time with our animals can be the highlight of our day. Whatever your pet is, animals can be a sense of comfort and support. I get a sense of this comfort and love whenever I am with my cat, Spunky. Though we cannot verbally communicate, we seem to know each other’s needs, too. I remember when I was a little girl and I had a fever, my cat jumped up on my bed and stayed with me. My cat just knew I needed her support and love.

Dogs are similar and often play a significant role in the support of their human friends. Dogs go beyond the call of companions to provide aid in extraordinary situations. Some dogs are trained for service as support pets for psychotherapy, hospitals, and even ill patients recovering at home. Dogs can be trained to use their emotional intelligence to detect when the human they’re paired with is experiencing a drop in blood sugar, or to help guide a blind person through a store or on the street; and even provide comfort to a patient experiencing a panic attack.

            This support is also present in how dogs protect their humans. Dogs are well known for alerting us of strangers approaching the house or at the door. Dog breeds like German Shepherd, Doberman, and Great Dane are just a few examples of those known for their protective natures. Moreover, in police and military working dogs, dogs are trained specifically to do specific tasks for us, some of which are to protect their owners and to alert them of danger. While these examples are just of dogs, all pets may have some kind of protective instinct.  Nevertheless, even in these few examples it is clear that our pets will go above and beyond for us as our partners.

Pets can even form bonds similar to those we form with other humans. Often when we introduce a cat or a dog into our families, these pets become a member of the family. Some can even treat their pets as they would a child. What is really fascinating about this phenomenon is that for those who cannot or do not want children, having a pet to care for may represent that innate need or desire to care for someone or something. In other words, pets have something about them that fills a human-sized hole in a human’s heart.

Pets can fill many roles in our lives and have come to mean a great deal to us as time goes on. I know for me, all the pets I’ve had throughout the years have made such a difference in my life. My life, and I’m sure for many of your lives as well, would not be the same without our beloved pets.


Jennifer Brown is a hospital corpsman at U.S. Naval Medical Center San Diego. Originally from Florida, she joined the Navy in 2018 and has been stationed on Okinawa for two years and San Diego for under a year. During her free time, Brown enjoys spending time with animals, running, rock climbing, and hiking. She is an alumnus of the University of Central Florida and holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Her professional interests include social work, animal welfare, and children.

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