First, not all people who live without pets do so because they dislike them. Usually, however, in the case of the petless person claiming he or she just isn't an animal person, this person has never lived with an animal. This lack of experience explains part of the misunderstanding about a pet's gift: their total acceptance and nonjudgmental approach to us.
Our pets don’t boss us, don’t judge us, usually seek to please us, and are always there for us—actions often the very opposite of most human friends and relatives. And when someone like you or me realizes the importance of pet companionship and when we prefer our pets to these inexperienced humans, our privileging the animal makes them feel inferior, smaller, and decidedly uncomfortable. What they sometimes don't realize is that they helped create the sticky situation—by ignoring you in your time of need, by laughing or snickering at your love for your pets, by criticizing you over your lifetime choices or goals--things our pets never do and wouldn't do even if they could speak, for their love and admiration for us is unconditional.
People who do not like animals usually see things in one-dimension. Their world revolves solely around people, and because of this, their personalities, motives, and values become one-dimensional as well. Though they my think themselves superior to the pet lover, they realize that you, as a lover of animals, consider them inferior because you recognize their lack of knowledge and their narrowed viewpoint of the world.
Some who claim they aren't attracted to animals seem proud of that fact. Why? Perhaps the claim makes them feel superior--but it shouldn't. They’re missing out on a whole other realm of life. The ability to communicate and respond to a different species makes us so much more able to communicate and empathize with other people who may not be like us. With a whole new set of communication skills, we animal people can more easily get past our limitatons and communicate with anyone who is of a different culture, religion, or political party simply because we have learned the nuances of communicating with our pets. This ability makes us superior to the petless person, doesn’t it?
Consider the horse and dog and cat whisperers who truly reside in a different world than most people. They are attuned to body gestures and eye contact. They are wise and compassionate people because they have learned to communicate in a way in which none of us were taught to communicate in school. Having this ability to break through to the world of animals makes us more sensitive, more intuitive, and we can bring this experience to our relationships with people as well.
So, if you are one of those people whose relatives and friends criticize your love of animals, rest proudly knowing that you reside and operate on a far higher level of understanding and sensitivity than do they. Stand proud for nurturing your ability to transcend the human condition.