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Woman’s Best Friend

By Meredith Ayan, Executive Director

I recently read this fascinating article that discussed women’s role in early human-canine relationships. In short, it is about how women are responsible for the co-evolution of dogs and humans and possibly played an even larger role than men in making dogs part of households.

After reviewing information from over 140 societies around the globe, researchers found “humans were more likely to regard dogs as a type of person if the dogs had a special relationship with women. They were more likely to be included in family life, treated as subjects of affection and generally, people had greater regard for them.”

These findings fascinate me because in modern times, the makeup of the animal welfare industry skews female. Time and time again, my work at SPCA International introduces me to strong, dedicated and innovative women who save countless lives of animals. I’m proud to lead a team of passionate women who know that improving the lives of animals improves our communities, homes and health.

Time and time again, we have seen how the companionship of animals can improve mental health. This has been especially clear during the global pandemic that has upended life as we knew it. Our animals have helped us navigate loss, grief and uncertainty by being positive, consistent forces in our lives. To know that our earliest female ancestors were leading the way in recognizing these bonds is an incredible discovery.

This March, Women’s History Month, I hope you’ll join me in celebrating the many women and the organizations they lead on behalf of animals. Seeing incredible women-led organizations all over the world helping animals confirms what these researchers found: the bond between women and animals is strong.

Thank you to all the women who continue their dedication to animals as pet parents, foster parents, rescuers and activists. The animals of our world are better off because of you.