Why your dog really DOES love you (and it's not just because of all the treats you give it!)


Special bond: Humans feel love for their pets and one another, but do dogs have the same feelings?

Some years ago I wrote an article for this newspaper about my feelings on having to put down my golden retriever, Macy.
Your response was overwhelming, with many letters and emails expressing gratitude that an old vet like me, and a man at that, had talked openly about the personal pain I felt when my pet’s life ended.
One of those who had clearly read my musings was my client Michael, the owner of Molly, a collie-cross who suffered irreversible kidney failure last autumn.

A dog's life: Amanda Craig (pictured with her children Leonora and William) spoke about how a dog changes family life

‘You know how I feel, Bruce,’ he said when I arrived at the family home to give Molly a lethal injection. His wife Tricia stayed in the next room and Michael stayed with me — the opposite of what usually happens when I end an animal’s life. In my experience, men find it more unbearable to see their pets die.
As Michael bent over his old girl and I injected the overdose of barbiturate, his tears dropped like tiny pearls on her still face and he said something which got me thinking. ‘You know Bruce, she loved us as much as we loved her.’

A dog's life: Amanda Craig (pictured with her children Leonora and William) spoke about how a dog changes family life

Scientists find this idea hard to handle. They say only animals with ‘higher emotions’ — humans — are capable of love.
But Michael’s words came back to me this week when I read newspaper reports claiming the dog has been man’s best friend for far longer than anyone imagined. They described how archaeologists digging in Siberia and Belgium found two canine skulls dating back 33,000 years.
Unlike their wolf ancestors, who had long narrow jaws and large teeth, perfectly suited for grabbing their prey and tearing its meat off the bone, these creatures had far more blunted features with smaller teeth.

Love for the Queen: Elizabeth is pictured walking her corgis

This indicated they were domesticated long before the archaeologists’ previous estimate of 15,000 years ago. The researchers suggest that, apart from using these early dogs as an emergency food source or to follow animal scent trails, our ancestors also valued them as companions — just as we do today.
And I believe the bond between our two species has been so enduring because dogs are as capable of loving us as we are of loving them.

Emotions: Perhaps dogs can grow to love their owners just as much as their owners love them?

I decided to include a section called ‘In Memory Of’ where clients can leave pictures of dogs that loved their humans as much as they were loved by us.
Molly was the first of what I know will be many more.
Visit www.londonvetclinic.co.uk for the pets’ memorial page and Bruce’s story about Macy.

source: dailymail