I reread a column today that I read years ago, about the writer’s Golden Retriever and what Harry meant to him, soon before the dog’s death. His veterinarian is a friend of mine, and recently, one of her other clients chose to post it on Facebook. The column is not just about this dog, or exclusively dogs for that matter. It talks about how a “dog can change you, can be an anchor in bad times, a sanctuary, a confidant, and an occasional excuse”. He talks about how walks are not just walks, but “a time to pause, … the journey being as good as the destination.” And, of course, he is absolutely right. No one reading this needs to be told these things. But maybe we all need to be reminded of it. I urge you to read it in its entirety (Brown eyes of wisdom, By Brian McGrory, Aug 31,2004).
It got me thinking about my own dog, and dogs, and what they have meant to me. Have you ever noticed how intuitive your dog or cat is to your feelings? Or a horse? Imagine going through life just watching and waiting, as they do, for someone to give you a hug, or pet you, or walk you, or simply invite you to join them on the couch while you sob watching This is Us (insert your particular television show or sport here… but you get the picture). My husband asked me what was wrong the other day, because he could tell by the way my dog was acting that I was upset! I had not uttered a word to anyone on the phone, yet evidently simply had communicated with my body language that I was unhappy. (PS: interesting that my husband can interpret my feelings through those of my dog….). It may be far less eloquently put than the column, but my point is,…. my dog gets me and is always, always there for me.
Those of you with pets know that my story is not an unusual one. Often, clients report that somehow the cat knew I was coming and acted differently the morning prior to a house call visit. It happened yesterday. They sense subtle changes in our behavior, no matter how hard we try to act nonchalant about, say, the fact that the vet will soon be coming to examine them. I have received countless calls the morning of a visit, only to find that “it’s the darnedest thing…. the cat always comes back in at 9 am, but not today”, or something similar. Trust me,… they know you have something up your sleeve. Cats in particular cannot be fooled by you spelling that the V-E-T is C-O-M-I-N-G today. Not in the least.
So, what’s up with that? There have been several studies attempting to prove that dogs are intuitive, have telepathy, and have a broader range of emotional capabilities than previously thought. And, it is not just their sense of smell, which is thousands of times more developed than ours. There are case after case of dogs predicting when someone will go into labor, have a seizure, detect illness or cancer. They can predict earthquakes and storms.
It is not just a combination of them reading your body language or smelling disease. They are innately attuned to us, and even have eye to eye interactions with humans, similar to that which we have with each other. Many would argue that they are more attuned to human body language than other humans. I would agree.
watch it here
This news segment is one of many sources that helps to explain why. Basically, there are several studies out there that have gone to great lengths to prove what pet parents already know. But it’s interesting and cool to watch nonetheless.
There are also several books available if you want to learn more. One of my favorites is Inside of a Dog, by Alexandra Horowitz. It discusses what dogs see, smell, and know. Try the yawning experiment at the end with your dog. It’s really amazing.
Also, there’s Psychic Pets, by Emma Heathcote-James, discussing this specific subject.
So, lots of literature and proof that pets are amazing, and explanations why. Good reads for those of us that want to understand more about our companions.
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