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WHEN VIEWING ON A MOBILE DEVICE -- DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM Why Are Children So Interested In Animals, Anyway?  called attunement, and it is a feeling that children enjoy in many of their interactions with animals. For example, on Monday morning, Simone tells the classroom goldfish about her busy weekend, and she observes the fish approaching the surface of the water, expecting a few flakes of food. Simone sees the fish’s behavior as a direct response to her chatter and presence. This leads her to believe that the fish must be interested in what she is saying. When asked, most children will report that an animal’s common everyday behaviors are directed at the child herself, indicating that the child perceives the animal as communicating directly with the child. Vulnerability In a child’s world, adults rule. Adults make most of the decisions. They are the source of love, food, space, shelter, and the other basic elements of survival, pleasure, and comfort. Animals are the only living creatures that children can dominate. Although in our culture we often use the term dominate in a somewhat negative tone, I use the word here simply to mean “to have more power than.” This is neither good nor bad, it simply is. When a child is with an an- imal, she is in charge, if only for a while. When encountering small animals, such as household or classroom pets, children can be the decision makers (how much or when to feed you, whether or not I will pet you, where I will set you down). Even simply feeding an animal at a petting zoo can elicit some of the same feelings of power, and in many cases, it’s the earliest memory children have of connecting with animals. Of course, if you ask a child what’s special about that experience, he will say things like “the horse came so close I could smell it,” or he may describe the light touch of the bird’s beak in the palm of his hand. These more subtle qualities of caring can also contribute to the specialness and vulnerability of the moment. The power of caring for an animal and play- ing a role in the animal’s well-​being can be very meaningful for a young child. Especially in their COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 19