Animals are People too

PTSD , also known as post traumatic stress disorder, has become more common, the more stress that is endured daily. Most victims of PTSD experience common symptoms of flashbacks, nightmares, frightening thoughts, avoidance, outbursts of emotions, and depression. It is quite common in soldiers and veterans who were in combat, abuse victims, and loss of family members or friends of great attachment. But what we don’t seem to notice is how do these situations affect our pets ? They are always watching and love us dearly , but can they feel the same pain we do, and possibly at an even greater extent?


In this article “Post Traumatic Stress in Animals,”  there was a cat named Lola in Afghanistan with her owner when a bomb went off and spanned over several miles away, hitting their home. Weeks later, she was still shaken up, affecting her behavior, eating habits, and health. It is said that 5% of military canines suffer from ‘canine ptsd’ due to situations such as this and often adopt aggressiveness, timidness, or other behaviors that makes it difficult for them to complete their jobs on the field. So if domestic animals suffer from ptsd, can animals in the wild ?



In this same article mentioned above, a chimp named Elsom , who suffered PTSD over a build up of several traumatic events in his life. When he was 13, he mourned the loss of his mother, and at age 15, he had a serious injury occur to his arm. They said when he returned it’s as if his personality completely shifted, resulting in high agitation, fear, and isolation. Wild animals suffer PTSD from similar triggers as do most humans such as loss, stress, trauma, or abuse.


Another more well known example of this is of the famous killer whale Tilikium at SeaWorld Marine Animal Park. News broke out globally the killing of his trainer of 16 years. Everyone was aghast as to how he could kill her when they became so familiar with one another for so long. There were several videos of the life he was living and the suffering he had encountered for years. The signs were there, but nobody saw it coming. There are many more articles of instances such as Tilikium’s ,of whale killings but oddly enough these are only of inhabited orcas within national parks. This orca suffered trauma as a newborn, being torn form his mother, forced into a tank not even big enough to sustain his size that he would quickly outgrow, and had been underfed and overworked. It is no wonder he freaked out as he did, so why has nobody seen the signs ?

These poor stories should be wake up calls. Go check on your furry friends, because they do have feelings too. They need the bonding, and sometimes them resisting is a sign of stress, and we should appreciate their efforts in communicating with us instead of forcing any sort of immoral ways on them. If we wouldn’t want another human inflicting such stress and trauma on us, then who are we to inflict on those who rely on us for protection ?




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4 thoughts on “Animals are People too

  1. dnewman

    I really enjoyed reading this blog post. I am a big animal person and have a soft spot for those that serve our country. Having pets in the military is so hard, because you can tell that their animals are sad, and their reuniting videos are the most touching things to watch. As for the wild animals, I can’t imagine them being any different. They make attachments to people and other animals. Loss isn’t easy on anyone, I don’t care what they look like or where they live.

  2. Emily Beitzell

    Great post, I really enjoyed it. It is so sad seeing how so many amazing animals are treated in captivity. I don’t understand why no one would realize that incidents like the one with Tilikium in SeaWorld are due to the mistreatment of the animal and the conditions they are living in. It has to take a toll on them especially social animals that are kept apart from others of their species.

  3. linda274

    My dog, who unfortunately passed a couple of years ago, was home alone during the earthquake we had back in 2011 and every day after that, I could tell he’d been traumatized. During thunderstorms, especially those with thunder loud enough to shake the house, he shook and wined when prior to the earthquake they never used to bother him. Even when the washing machine or dryer would shake, he was terrified. I never thought about it as PSTD until today, so this post was super eye-opening! It’s so sad to me how some people can think that animals don’t have feelings or emotions, when it’s so clear they feel things like grief, fear, and stress just as we do.

  4. jduvall

    Even though this is a pretty sad topic, i feel you make a really strong point about taking better care of our pets! Some animals actually have to go to reconditioning therapy at the SPCA to be eligible for adoption after going through something traumatic.

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