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Online Discussion: Tracking new emerging diseases and the next pandemic

Do Dogs Feel Love? - Event Date: October 20 2008

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dacia View Drop Down
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    Posted: October 20 2008 at 12:27am

We feel tremendous love for our dogs, and our dogs sure seem to love us. But is a dog really capable of emotions? Or are we just projecting our feelings onto our dogs?
Scientists avoid the subject because part of what sets humans apart from the animals is our ability to experience feelings. To say that animals actually have feelings, in the same way we do, would change everything – perhaps disrupt our entire position and standing in the animal kingdom. However, any dog owner knows that dogs love completely and have a greater capacity for love than most people. If one were to describe the main characteristics of a dog, they would have to be:1. strong affection 2. warm attachment 3. unselfish loyalty and benevolent concern for others Wait a minute – those are the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definitions of love. Probably why the author of Dogs Never Lie About Love, Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson writes, “dogs are love.” So there isn’t a question of whether dogs love, the mystery is how they have such an enormous capacity for it. Dogs who are neglected or abused still show love for their human and wag their tails in hope of a little affection.

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 22 2008 at 10:16am
Originally posted by dacia dacia wrote:

We feel tremendous love for our dogs, and our dogs sure seem to love us. But is a dog really capable of emotions? Or are we just projecting our feelings onto our dogs?
Scientists avoid the subject because part of what sets humans apart from the animals is our ability to experience feelings. To say that animals actually have feelings, in the same way we do, would change everything – perhaps disrupt our entire position and standing in the animal kingdom. However, any dog owner knows that dogs love completely and have a greater capacity for love than most people. If one were to describe the main characteristics of a dog, they would have to be:1. strong affection 2. warm attachment 3. unselfish loyalty and benevolent concern for others Wait a minute – those are the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definitions of love. Probably why the author of Dogs Never Lie About Love, Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson writes, “dogs are love.” So there isn’t a question of whether dogs love, the mystery is how they have such an enormous capacity for it. Dogs who are neglected or abused still show love for their human and wag their tails in hope of a little affection.

 

They most certainly do. My wife, Bluebird is a dog and horse trainer. Before I got together with Bluebird almost 11 years ago, I knew very little about dogs and a great deal about cats. I was a "cat" person. With the introduction and an Australian Shepherd into our household, part dingo from Australia, I have never seen a more devoted animal. The first thing I learned about Tasha was that she was not dumb. She was one, very selective. Bluebid had worried because she had only liked Bluebird since she was a puppy and did not take to anyone else, and was very protective, our first meeting may not go well. Tasha however when she first met me, came up to me, licked my hand and lay her chin upon my thigh and then a paw as well. She stared into my eyes with this deep intense affection and that was it. I then became also a dog person.  She would anticipate things, and though docile as long as we were present to most strangers, anyone touching a toe down in our yard was faced with very unhappy dog.

We were watching T.V once and she had her special shows she liked, and there was this show about a dog who had loved his master for his whole life and each day greeted him when him came from work. He was a crusty old guy, and hard construction worker, and one day did not come home. He had died. Friends of the family took the dog to funeral and thus began a daily ritual. Every day the dog would rise up early and make his way to his masters grave, find it all by himself, and lay on the grave just finding peace and some comfort being with his master.  There are many versions to the story and I don't know if finally they allowed the dog to be buried next his master, but some say they did.

One night we had left the gas on and Tasha woke us up barking, and we were pretty sick. The gas had already had its effect on us and I doubt if we would have ever woke up again if she hadn't sensed the danger and saved our lives.

One night when she was sick and dying I prayed earnestly that God would give her just one more year, for she was almost 15 years old. She hadn't been eating, wouldn't drink and was terribly ill. We were poor then and simply did not have the money to find out what was wrong with her. I called Bluebird at work and told her Tasha was dying.  It was heart rending, as she lay her head on my lap, looking up at me with those depth less dark eyes, a look of complete trust and love in them.  Suddenly her ears perked, as if there were someone there with us and I felt something I cannot put into words.

After the feeling passed Tasha grew restless, and for the first time went to the water bowl and started drinking. Then after an hour she was eating food, very little, but eating. By the time Bluebird got home, she was walking around and even wagged her stub of a tail.

The next year passed and was filled with trips to the ocean, to creeks where she swam, and this was a happy dog. Some nights she would sit and just stare in my eyes for a long time, content, and I will tell you, if I have never seen such love in a creatures eyes. Not to the day, but close, she fell gravely ill once more. I knew deep inside that nothing lasts forever, and she had indeed by some higher power been granted a final year to live and share our lives together.

We had to have her put to sleep, because she was in so much pain, and incontinent, she was embarrassed and humiliated and wanted to end it rather than suffer. We spoke to the person who put her to sleep. And when it was time to go, Tasha weakly made her way to the blanket in the car and was calm and I felt knew. We said goodbye to her, and were both very very teary eyed and I tell you, I felt more for this special dog than i have felt for people. She gave my hand one last lick and nuzzled my leg with her nose before she went. The lady said she had just gone to sleep and was very peaceful.

Images of the years we had spent together and the scenes of closeness, and her swimming in the creek and the shaking and a happy barking dog dancing around. All I can say is that I hope she is there for us in the life beyond this one and that at night when she had her head on my chest or was even worried when I sick, or licked my face when I was sad or when the night my father died - if there is such a thing as love that can be felt, this dog indeed loved us and we deeply and will always love and remember her.

Medlclinician

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lele0124 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lele0124 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 14 2010 at 10:25pm
yes ,i  think , they can feel love!
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