Can you ever really know another person? Philosophers, and also users of Quora.com, have puzzled over thus question for centuries. It seems that even if we love someone, live with them, and exchange our deepest, most vulnerable secrets with them, there is always a part of a person that remains hidden — perhaps because they choose to hide it, or perhaps because of our own inability to see what’s really in front of us. Another related and equally important question, I think: Can you ever really know your pet?
According to a recent poll of 2,000 cat and dog owners, seven in ten people feel they know their animal companions much better since the COVID-19 pandemic (and the subsequent quarantines and lockdowns) began. Six in ten said they noticed their pets have been acting differently during the pandemic. Though we must wonder: Are the pets really acting differently, or do their owners just know them better now and so are able to pick up on nuances of their personalities they had missed before? It’s unclear, but 72 percent of people also said that they’re taking better care of their pets than before, which is nice.
Not all of the changes were for the better, it seems. Per People: “While 27 percent said their pet’s behavior has improved, nearly one in five, 17 percent, said it’s gotten worse.” Owners said that, over the past few months, their pets had become more active (36 percent), more needy (31 percent), and more curious (26 percent) than they had been before.
Do you feel like you know your pet better now? I think I do. For example: Before the pandemic, I had no idea what a great and terrible hatred my dog harbored for the Westie that lives downstairs. Maybe she didn’t hate him as much before, but now she’s just well and truly over him. Who knows. In any case, when I’m not trying to calm her down because she heard the Westie bark and lost her mind, I appreciate that my dog and I now have the chance to bond in the most profound way two beings can possibly connect — over shared enemies.