3 Things We Learn from Disney’s Furry Friends
August 31, 2015

Relationships between animals and humans bring complexity, humor, and depth to the plot of any movie. In numerous films, Disney does a fantastic job showing the benefits of animal companionship. And these animals teach us new ways to look at life. They broaden our perspective on trials, teach us to be generous and loyal, and sprinkle a generous helping of humor into life.

Take a look at three endearing lessons animal friends teach us in Disney films.

They’re Slow to Judge and Quick to Love

Dogs are “man’s best friend” for a reason. They’re loveable, playful, and forgiving. And they are slow to judge our shortcomings. Dug from Disney’s Up is no exception to this charming stereotype.

My name is Dug. I have just met you, and I love you.

This heartwarming statement gives the audience a glimpse of the straightforward perspective dogs have. At only the first meeting, Dug decides he loves Carl and Russell. Dug’s quickness to love gives us a new way to think about how we judge others.

Through Dug’s attitude, Disney shows us that animals don’t need to know everything to trust and love us just the way we are. Perhaps like Dug, we can love others more freely and care less about individual’s potential faults and imperfections.

They Help Us Listen to Our Heart

Disney’s animals remind us what we should do in light of who we are. In Frozen, Kristoff brings Anna back to Prince Hans and leaves Arendelle. He looks melancholy as he walks away, and the audience assumes that he misses Anna.

Before they get far, however, reindeer Sven cuts off Kristoff and stops him from going any farther.

Kristoff: Ah! Stop it! Put me down!

(Sven puts him down and grunts.)

Kristoff: No, Sven! We’re not going back! She’s with her true love.

(Sven looks like he disagrees.)

Kristoff accepts Anna’s love for Hans, but Sven knows better. The reindeer sees Kristoff’s love for Anna and Anna’s need for Kristoff. Thanks to Sven, Kristoff stops long enough to notice the storm coming and rush back to save Anna. In this situation, Sven helps Kristoff realize the best course of action.

Disney leaves it to the animals to set us straight-their simple actions can profoundly change our decisions. These creatures remind us of our strengths and weaknesses and teach us to be honest with ourselves.

They Serve

From fetching the newspaper to cuddling during a movie, animals do a lot for us. They offer companionship, entertainment, and a listening ear. 

In Cinderella, the mice perform an incredible service for the heroine. While Cinderella’s stepmother and stepsisters assign endless chores to keep the girl away from the party, her mouse friends notice her sadness.

Jaq: Poor Cinderelly. Ev’ry time she find a minute, that’s the time when they begin it. “Cinderelly! Cinderelly!”

Later, the mice take matters in their own hands and get to work on a dress for Cinderella to wear to the ball.

Gus: I’ll cut it with the scissors!

Jaq: And I can do the sewing.

Perla: Leave the sewing to the women. You go get some trimmin’.

Though small in size, these mice show the power of empathy put into action. A friend may say, “Poor thing,” but a true friend strives to improve the situation. Your pet may not always understand what goes on in your life, but that lick on the hand or vie for attention is a sign of love for you. Notice and embrace the simple ways your pet serves.


These are only a few of the many lessons we can learn from animal companionship. While these creatures may seem different from us, Disney shows us that deep down we have more in common than we think.

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