Notes on "Why the Wild Things Are"

Notes on "Why the Wild Things Are: Animals in the Lives of Children" by Gail F. Melson (not "Nelson")

Why the Wild Things Are

Why is it often easier to love animals more than people?

  • Available (you don't see grandma every day, but you see your pets all the time)
  • Nurturing (even boys are allowed to nurture animals)
  • Touch
  • Non-evaluative
  • In the present (and unstructured)
  • Intimate dialog 

Noncomplicated relationship

  • You are not worried about:
    • Burnout
    • Reciprocity
    • Conflicting demands
  • The dog won't give up on them

Note: A child, especially, gets to practice how death works in real life

Benefits of an animal:

  • Social lubrication
  • Halo effect
  • Relaxation response
  • Heightened attention (focus)