Sunny Weber: The Human-Animal Bond and the Human-Nature Relationship | Doing Well #21

In this episode, host Lu Ngo is joined by Sunny Weber, an animal welfare advocate with over 30 years of experience who specializes in rehabilitating fearful animals

If you’re curious about the profound link between humans and animals and eager to learn more about the benefits of nurturing that connection, then this episode is tailor-made for you! 

Meet Sunny Weber

Sunny Weber is an animal welfare advocate with over 30 years of experience. She has worked in various areas such as rescue, fostering, medical care, and training of service and therapy dogs. One of her specialties is rehabilitating fearful animals. Sunny is the first President of the Board of Directors of Colorado Animal Protectors (CAP), a nonprofit organization.

Sunny has successfully rehabilitated and found new homes for hundreds of dogs, cats, and horses. She is a professional humane educator and provides consultation to animal welfare professionals and adopters. Sunny has developed educational programs aimed at promoting compassion and care for animals among people of all ages, particularly children. 

Her Pups & Purrs Children’s Book Series uses storytelling to teach humane education, with dog protagonists narrating the stories from their perspective to foster empathy in young readers. The series covers important themes such as bullying, identity, and decision-making. 

About the episode

According to Sunny, true well-being encompasses personal balance, harmony, and a sense of control over your life journey. It involves finding contentment in the present, reflecting on fulfilling past experiences, and being driven to contribute to the future. 

A fulfilling environment that provides space, peace, and connection is also crucial. However, many people mistakenly base their well-being on superficial goals like material wealth, superiority, and exploitation of others. These misconceptions lead to negative emotions, isolation, and a lack of compassionate awareness of interconnectedness.

Sunny explained that humans have an inherent need for emotional connections, and animals play a significant role in fulfilling this need. From infancy, humans require nurturing, and as they grow, they seek connections beyond their immediate family, including with animals. 

Close bonds with pets can expand your perspective, promote involvement in society, and awaken altruistic needs. However, human-animal interactions are often hindered by the chosen environment, leading to some individuals missing out on the human-animal bond. Sunny emphasized that animal companionship can greatly benefit humans, but its availability depends on the environment and upbringing.

Sunny highlighted the issue of pet hoarding, which stems from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Individuals with this condition become excessively attached to their animals and feel compelled to save and care for them. However, they often accumulate more animals than they can adequately provide for, neglecting veterinary care, and disregarding the consequences of overcrowding and poor living conditions. 

As a result, the animals suffer and may even die due to neglect. Unfortunately, those who hoard pets are often unaware of the severity of the situation, perpetuating the cycle of harm.

In conclusion

If you’re looking to enhance your understanding and connection with animals, consider volunteering at a shelter to gain valuable skills and knowledge in animal care and behavior. 

Never stop learning by immersing yourself in relevant literature, as there is a wealth of valuable material accessible to expand your knowledge. Remember to take full responsibility for your decisions regarding your animals, prioritizing their well-being and nurturing a stronger bond with them. 

Following these tips and practices can deepen your relationship with animals and contribute to their overall welfare.

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