i think ppl pick the human and not the animal on the train tracks (if the other choice is a beloved pet), because we are not only trained from birth about how important human life is, but we are also competing against 35000 years of evolutionary saving human lives at all costs. it is an elemantal response to save a human life.
plus if a person saved a stupid dog over a 3 yr olds life, they'd probably and rightly be charged.
but what i find humorize (which apparently i can't even spell) is how many ppl forget that we are animals too. and i don't even know if we're even animals at it's finest. i can think of a few species that are more noble, orderly and coherent than the human animal.
who's to say intelligence is what makes an animal superior? as far as i can see, we're the only animal around who single-handedly is destroying the very earth we all need to survive.
it is only by luck that our evolutionary branch took a bit of a different turn and our brains started growing.
and i agree with the whole dog/family thing. many pets are beloved family members. my sister has a german shepherd that she treats/loves like her second child. i have two small children that i don't trust the dog around. she is skittish. so when she comes over, we compromise. the dog gets to come inside, but must stay in the basement.