I am currently studying Aesop’s Fables and anthropomorphism in a History of Children’s Literature class so it caught my eye that the author emphasized evidence that dogs can form loving relationships, rejecting feel good anthropomorphism about one’s pet. After all, I love my brother’s dog Chloe and I know she is always pleased to see me, but surely it is because she recognizes I will feed or walk or make a fuss over her? Author Clive Wynne states:
I’m not saying human and dog love are identical. I’m just saying there’s enough similarity between how dogs form strong emotional bonds and how people form strong emotional bonds that it’s fair enough to use the love word.
Wynne describes an awesome experiment intended to gauge dogs’ active affection for their people. They put the pets’ people into a box and had them call out in distress. All the dogs seemed upset about this but only 1/3 could figure out how to open the box to rescue her owner. But then they fine-tuned the experiment by starting with the same box but putting food in it and training the dogs to open the box to get the food out. Subsequently, nearly every dog was able to use its skills to open the box to free its person. Not sure that is love but it certainly intelligence!
Not every dog is Lassie or Timmy, capable of daring rescues, but we sure want them to be! Do you love your dog? Does your dog love you?
|My furry niece Chloe|