LISTEN LIVE: Loading...



Why We Seek Comfort From Pets

This article is more than 8 years old.

Many people find comfort and companionship from their pets, so it seems natural to want to buy a dog after a big transition, such as the loss of a loved one.

When Rachel Zimmerman, co-host of WBUR's Commonhealth blog, felt these pangs following the death of her husband, she started to wonder why. It turns out, our brains may be hard-wired to feel a pull toward dogs.


Rachel Zimmerman, co-host of WBUR's Commonhealth blog.

Lori Palley, assistant director of Veterinary Services at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Comparative Medicine.


Commonhealth: After A Death, Should We Get A Dog? Brain Study Signals ‘Yes’

  • "[L]ately I’ve been thinking the unthinkable: a Maltipoo, Goldendoodle, or some other ridiculously named, hypoallergenic, low-maintenance (does that exist?), cute-as hell puppy for my daughters — and for me — to love."

PLOS One: Patterns Of Brain Activation When Mothers View Their Own Child And Dog: An fMRI Study

  • "There was a common network of brain regions involved in emotion, reward, affiliation, visual processing and social cognition when mothers viewed images of both their child and dog."

This segment aired on November 10, 2014.


Listen Live