Love of Cats and Dogs Explored in TV Series

New episode of PBS' 'Nature' to feature ASPCA 'Meet Your Match' adoption program.

Posted: Feb. 14, 2009, 3 a.m. EST

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Brian Strong and Karie Van Audal
Brian Strong, with his Shih-Tzu puppy Stabler, and Karie Van Audal, with her cat Katy, appear on "Why We Love Cats and Dogs." Photo courtesy of PBS.
What makes humans feel connected to their cats and dogs? In the spirit of Valentine's Day, a new TV show entitled "Why We Love Cats and Dogs" explores the relationships that humans have with their four-legged friends.

In the PBS "Nature" series episode, producers get personal with pet owners and animal behavior experts to find out why people are so attached to their cats and dogs. Viewers can expect to see in-studio pet owner interviews, and the result is a variety of stories that are insightful, heartwarming and funny, said Fred Kaufman, executive producer with Thirteen Productions.

The episode premieres nationally at 8 p.m. EST, Sunday, Feb. 15, on PBS (check local listings).

The show includes a segment about the "Meet Your Match" adoption program, developed for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals by Dr. Emily Weiss, animal behaviorist. Weiss speaks about how the system improves the way shelters match adoptable pets with their ideal owners.

Filmed over the course of several days in the summer of 2008 at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley (HSBV) in Boulder, Colo. — an adoption center which uses the match system — the segment chronicles the adoption stories of several Colorado residents. These adopters were given the unique opportunity to have their experience enhanced by the adoptions staff at HSBV and the participation of Weiss in some of the introductions.

“We are thrilled to be a part of this upcoming episode of the Nature series,” said Ed Sayres, ASPCA president and CEO. “One of the greatest gifts we can receive in life is the unconditional love from a pet, and we are proud to be a part of this project which celebrates that unique bond.”

"Meet Your Match" includes research-based behavior assessments that determine the “Canine-ality” and “Puppy-ality” of dogs and puppies, as well as the “Feline-ality” of adoptable cats, and matches them with the best owners based upon their lifestyle and expectations.

In addition to Weiss, the episode features the following animal experts:

  • Sarah Wilson, author and animal behaviorist. Wilson's work centers on understanding the human/animal bond.

  • Marc Bekoff, evolutionary biologist and professor emeritus at the University of Colorado. Bekoff explains his theory on the attraction to animals based on "mirror neurons."

  • Dr. Nicholas Dodman of Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. Dodman reveals that cats, often viewed as independent animals, can be as responsive and trainable as dogs.
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Reader Comments

Pat    Omaha, NE

2/16/2009 5:17:34 AM

Well, I read about this too late, it was on last night!

me    eston, CT

2/15/2009 11:09:54 PM

good show

Sandra    Richardson, TX

2/15/2009 6:45:26 PM

Life with a beloved furbaby is exactly as described in this show. I feel for Jerry's pawrents; they are very brave, and I believe they made the right decision for Jerry. By now, he may have crossed the Rainbow Bridge, and I hope his pawrents are at peace.

Laurie    Erie, MI

2/15/2009 5:18:58 PM

This will be a cool show!

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