In almost every picture of me as a child, I am holding or petting an animal, be it pig, goat, fish, dog, kitten, llama, orangutan, or rabbit. As an adult, a good friend said I'd be more likely to save a drowning dog than a drowning human. Now, I am pretty sure that's not true, but it does get at one of the driving passions of my life.
Although I did not end up choosing a career in an animal-related field (unless you count middle schoolers....har har har) all the volunteering I have done as an adult has been animal-related--I have worked at animal rescue and rehabilitation centers, no-kill shelters and with Iggy doing therapy work.
Now, the other day, after I'd had an awful day, the kind where you hate every human being even for breathing (maybe that's just me), I overheard a lady at the grocery store say something like, "Oh, I just looooooooove people." And I wanted to gag. But later, when I thought about it, I realized that I have said "I love animals" or some variant at least one million times.
What's the difference? I still have not exactly figured it out, but I think it may have to do with the fact that I've never heard an animal tell a lie or gossip, or judge someone based on some arbitrary standard, or hurt someone just because they can. That's not to say that I dislike people, although I am certainly not a natural people person. And it's also not to say that people have been awful to me--because I've certainly not had any more heartache than most, and much less than many.