I just read an article (nothing overly scientific) on Yahoo News entitled “Do Animals Smile?”– Now, anyone who knows me, knows that I absolutely believe that animals have emotions and feelings and yes, they smile.
I didn’t really need an empirical study to feel this, but it’s a little reaffirming to see it somewhere that’s not myself:
According to Professor Nicholas Dodman, head of animal behavior at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts School of Medicine and a regular on Animal Planet’sDogs 101 and Cats 101, until recently, scientists have generally underestimated the emotional range of animals.
I’ve been a pet owner for 23 years– I have believed for all 23 of those years, that every animal I’ve had in my life has had a personality, a smile and emotional range.
… today it is widely understood by scientists that mammals do experience primary emotions such as fear, sadness, anger, and happiness and even some secondary emotions like jealously and embarrassment—and they communicate them. Dodman says that dogs even have a sense of humor and laugh with a kind of huffing sound.
I have several stories that can attest to this– most recently with Luka:
The first time I really saw a dog be embarrassed, was a few months ago– Luka likes to sit on Mom’s ottoman (as seen above). He really shouldn’t be up there, he knows he really shouldn’t be up there and Mom tells him he really shouldn’t be up there, but it kind of just happens anyway. On this particular day, Luka was messing around on the ottoman, playing with a toy and not paying attention to what he was doing. I tried warning him that he was particularly close to falling off from where he was, but since he’s a dog and he wasn’t even a year old yet… He didn’t listen. Annnnd as I and everyone else in the room suspected, he fell off. And not very flatteringly.
Needless to say, he was shocked and we all started laughing. He became intensely embarrassed, he howled at us as we giggled over his gracelessness and kidney punched my Dad as he stood by and had a good laugh over his fall from his pedestal. I’ve never seen a dog have such a reaction to people laughing at them before, but he genuinely seemed annoyed that we even dared.
The second was also a Luka experience and just happened this Monday. My Dad had intended to take both Luka and Mystic for a walk. Something Luka desperately loves and is even willing to leave toys for. We’ve been watching a lot of Cesar Millan recently and Cesar says when you’re preparing for a walk, your dog should be calm submissive. Well. Luka was neither calm, nor was he submissive. Mom warned him and gave him commands to calm down and he just wouldn’t. So she sent Dad off with Mystic in tow and Luka– I kid you not– pouted. Like this:
For over an hour.
This just goes to prove that Luka is a perfect example of how animals, dogs in particular, really do have a wider emotional range than some people give them credit for. I knew that the minute I met any of my pets they did and I can see it every day, when Faith smiles when I wake her from a bad dream, or Luka laughs when he gets something he steals from someone or Mystic leans into one of us with all the love someone who realizes she has a family now can have. I was validated even before the Yahoo article, as pointless or invalid as it might seem without pages of research to back it up.
I did my research in real life, that’s all that matters.
I just thought I’d share that, since I’ve been doing such a fabulous job updating.
Think about it!