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Friendship Between Animals and Human

The term friendship can be used interchangeably with the term social bond; however, the first is often considered a hallmark of humans. Friendship can be defined on the basis of the patterning and quality of interactions, that is, between friends the frequency and consistency of affiliative interactions is greater than between non-friends and lasts longer.

In our opinion “friendship” appears to be the most suitable word to describe close human-pet relationships, which imply the formation of a social bond that serves analogous emotional and adaptive functions as human-human friendships. Most of the properties that a relationship should have in order to be characterized as friendship are traceable in the human-pet association: intimacy, companionship, trust, loyalty, commitment, affection, acceptance, sympathy, concern for the other's welfare, as well as time spent together and maintenance of the pair bond after long separations.

Indeed, there is plenty of evidence of a distinct role of companion animals in human lives. Many owners live closely with their pets, sharing with them their domestic space and financial resources, view them as psychological-kin and equal members of the family. Consistently, faces of human and canine “family” members (i.e., faces associated with long-term social familiarity) evoke similar brain responses, particularly in the rostroventral anterior cingulate cortex, whose activity is considered to be associated with fundamental aspects of social cognition closely related to affection and emotion

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