When we talk about loyalty, love and all these things, I personally do think they exist. I’ve seen vast differences in how my dog treats one person versus another person in the family. I can’t say exactly how we measure [a dog’s] love, but I can say one of the ways we can look at the relationship between a dog and a human is the reinforcement history. That could be through traditional training, it could be rewarding the dog with a cookie for sitting. But it could also be the fact that we like to cuddle at night—that’s reinforcing for both of us.
Life is complicated. Really, how many young women will decide to have children early in life because that will decrease (but not eliminate) their risk of breast cancer? In all the public talk about “teen-age childbearing” no one points out that it can have the effect of reducing breast cancer risk. And for women choosing to have their first child well into their 30’s who’s banging the drum saying that that choice may increase the risk of breast cancer more than remaining childless?
Not so long ago hormone replacement therapy was highly touted as a preventive for heart disease and osteoporosis. Who was even paying attention to breast cancer?
I am reminded of the story my friend told me of how her husband, when born, walked from the delivery room to the bath room. Infant sphincters do not develop for quite a while. Usually in such extreme cases as the Barths, the parents are trained, not the children. And the psychological implications of that kind of training are frightening. Which validates, at least for me, the value of friends, parent support groups, and common sense doctoring and therapy. By the way, I’m a therapist, and I swear my children had problems just to get equal time. We’re just humans, trying to the best we can, and we are destined to fail, once in a while.