Elisabeth Strillacci: Common ground in animals

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 23, 2024

By Elisabeth Strillacci

What’s the one thing that, no matter our politics or religion, nearly all of us enjoy on the internet?

You know it.

It’s animal videos.

We love them, we share them, we sneak peaks at them at work, and we come together over them.

Animals, with their unabashed silliness and their endless love for their human counterparts (even when we are cruel, they seem to have an endless capacity for forgiveness) are our favorite entertainment.

It goes back, at least for me, to the days of the “I can haz cheeseburger” and cat videos, but it has progressed to a point where just about everyone has now created an Instagram account for their pet.

Mine do not have accounts of their own, but they certainly make appearances on my social media.

Scientists have shown again and again that animals, pets, are good for us. They bring calmness to those who are stressed, companionship to those who are lonely, and connection for everyone. People with pets live longer, happier lives.

When we cannot find other common ground, the minute we discover someone has pets, we have a conversation. If we share an interest in a particular breed or animal, even better.

We spend amazing amounts of money on our pets, buy clothes for them, build houses, spoil them beyond reason sometimes.

And animals that have become pets are dependent upon us for their care, so it’s good that we feel responsible. Think about it. Your cat or dog or guinea pig or lizard cannot decide to go for a walk on a bad day, or stay in bed all day, or to grab their own snacks. They can’t get a degree and do something with their life that means something to them.

Their world revolves around us, around the time and attention we give them. But they don’t get angry with us when we ignore them. They wait patiently (well, except cats, who will walk across your laptop to get your attention if necessary). And always, they love us.

It is no surprise we are entertained by their silly antics, by their often human-like expressions, and by their devotion. And I find myself grateful that we all still have this happy common ground.

I am a Corgi girl and a pit bull lover, and my children often send me videos of both. I find myself sending my husband, who is not much of an Instagram guy, funny videos of Corgis and of cats, which he loves. And to my delight, he watches and laughs.

I know animals don’t behave any particular intention of getting us to video them, but I’m glad that we do. I love that the most innocent among us is a way for us to stay connected, and to be reminded that it’s the laughter, the joy, the sweetness and yes, the silliness in life that we should cherish. Because it is the moments we laugh, and love, that will last.

Keep sharing those animal videos. And keep reminding each other that at the end of the day, the connection of smiles, laughter and love is what matter.

My Riley and Lily wholeheartedly agree.


Elisabeth Strillacci is formed editor of the Salisbury Post.