Names are like passkeys which unlock our empathy, in a single moment capable of transforming a stranger into someone deserving of our decency. But, interestingly, the empathizing effect of knowing someone’s name still applies when its bearer isn’t human.
It was quite likely after our earliest interspecies bonding, with the domestication of dogs some 50,000 years ago, that we first began to bestow some form of personal names upon animals, too — and in so doing, elevated their distinction from a generalized animal, to an individualized companion. It’s not surprising then that, in that recognition, dogs soon gained access to affection and endearment we once reserved only for our own kind."
(via The Dish)