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Pastiche Family Portal HomeLate-breaking News About Our Companion, the Dog

"Well, you know Labs, they're almost human," I always say when I'm out walking Bailey, my Chocolate Lab, and people stop us. Do you feel the same way about your dog?

Site Index Features : Pets : Dogs : Do dogs have feelings?

I agree with prize-winning pet columnist obedience/ therapy dog trainer, Lexiann Grant, who said,

"I love [dogs] immensely and cannot imagine my life without them in it. "

Because of a dog - their emotions and intelligence - I:

  • have been lifted from depression
  • found a new, more profound meaning in my life
  • coped successfully with a long recovery from chronic illness
  • learned what is truly important in my daily life ... and what is not
  • know about love freely given and received without judgment

My client Terry knows about therapy dogs. When her 21 year old son died in an accident, her Retriever was her constant companion. When she would cry, Tansy would push her head into Terry's lap and look up at her.

There are plenty of tales about dogs rescuing families from burning homes without being trained, or, like my grandmother's dog, sitting patiently in the lap of aged companions when they could be off playing.

Those of us who have dog companions know what we know, but research has come up with a really fascinating bit of evidence I'd never thought of. See if this ever occurred to you! The closest other animal to humans genetically would be the chimp, right?

But the fact is, we humans have never made our homes with chimps, so we may be closer to dogs in many ways.

Dogs and humans go way back. It appears Palaeolithic humans tamed dogs 15,000 years ago. According to Peter Savolainen, an evolutionary biologist at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, that's when we bred aggression out of wolves and made dogs pets.

Another researcher, Brian Hare at Harvard, has been studying dogs' special ability to communicate with humans. He did experiments where he hid food and then used nonverbal means of communication to indicate where it was. He tested dogs, human-reared wolves, chimps, and puppies.

Chimps and wolves couldn't find it, but dogs and even puppies, who hadn't been around humans, knew what it meant when researchers pointed at the place, or 'eyed' it, or placed an item on it.

Hare's studies are showing that although chimps are our closest relatives genetically, they can cooperate and communicate very poorly with us. But oh our dogs can!

About the Author

©Susan Dunn, The EQ Coach, offers coaching, and The
EQ Foundation Course© on the Internet, for individuals and for licensing.

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