Special-Needs Companion Animals and Those Who Care for Them

Stories of Identity and Empathy

In: Society & Animals
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  • 1 University of Missouri-Columbia
  • 2 Northern Illinois University, DeKalb

Abstract

Through a series of in-depth interviews asking individuals about their decisions to adopt special-needs companion animals, we discovered that a combination of anthropomorphism and empathy are at play when individuals decide to adopt them. This tendency is explained using David Blouin’s typology of guardians: humanistic and protectionistic guardians anthropomorphized their companion animals, exhibited greater empathy, and were more willing to adopt animals with special needs.

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