Hello my friends!
It has been a rough day yesterday. My human said that my toys are dirty and stinky and she gathered them up and put them in the big, noisy box that she calls washing machine. Well, I only had the toys left that I don't really like. But after a few hours, I got all my toys back and they smelled a lot better. And now the bad part, my reindeer that used to sing "Santa Claus is coming to town" did no longer sing. My human cut open its tummy and took a box out and sewed it up again. It's not fun without the music. My koala bear that laughs when I squeeze it, no longer laughs. But the worst, my favorite toy, the frog that goes "ribbit, ribbit" when squeezed, started to ribbit on its own and would not stop. I got really worried and tried to push it around the living room, hoping it would stop but it didn't. I cried because I was so worried that I had done something wrong while playing with it. So my human got out the scissors again and performed surgery on my favorite toy. Again, she sewed it up and gave it back to me but it was silent and that scared me even more. I worked on it all evening long but it remained silent. When it came time to go to bed, I tried again to make it go "ribbit" but only silence. It worried me so much that I crawled under the bed. I usually only do that when there is a thunderstorm or fireworks. My human got me out from under the bed and I fell asleep with my toy in my mouth. This morning I put it out in the back yard where it is sunny. That must have helped. When my human came home from work and let me in the back yard, my favorite toy looked like new, all clean, smelled fresh and was doing the "ribbit, ribbit" thing again. I was so happy and have been playing with it for hours. And that shows you that us animals have emotions too.
Scientists have been studying for years and years on this issue. Some say yes and some say no. Some scientists call it anthropomorphism, that means "the ascribing of human characteristics or behaviors to animals". Others claim that animals only have primal emotions such as joy, grief, and empathy. There was an article once in a scientific journal that stated that rats can feel joy, elephants grief when they have a loss, and mice feel empathy for their cage mates. Scientists at the University of Vienna went even further and discovered that animals are capable of secondary emotions such as jealousy and guilt. They had two dogs that had to "shake". One of the dogs was rewarded with snacks every time he gave his paw and the other one did not get a snack but watched the first dog get his rewards. He then stopped giving his paw and turned away from the handler and also nipped the other dog in the ear. That sounds much like jealousy to me.
Now, if you ask the humans that live with pets, they will tell you that their pets are very much capable of emotions. My human says that she is around me so much and that she knows my facial expressions and my body language and she can tell when I look happy or sad. She also claims that when I do something bad, I look guilty even before she reprimands me and at times I have a mischievous look on my face.
Some people say it takes a certain amount of intelligence in order to feel emotions. Well, let me tell you, I am a very smart cookie. I know that when my human says "sit", that means my rear end has to go down to the ground. When she says "stay", I'd better not come running after her. And when she says "come", I get to run to her and she calls me a good boy. Now, most of my doggy friends know the same words and do what they are supposed to do. My vocabulary however, is much bigger. I know exactly that when my human uses the word "walk", that means I get to go outside and explore. I even know what "dog park" means. I run straight for the car because we have to drive to the dog park and I know the way there too because I usually have my head out of the car window the entire way there. I also get very excited when my human tells me "lets go see the ladies". That means I get to go to the nursing home and I get lots of back rubs and dog snacks. When my human tells me to "get a toy", I will get one and bring it to her because she will throw it for me so I can fetch it again and that is a lot of fun. I also know that "NO, NO, NO! #@%&*$#$@&!!!!" means I am in a lot of trouble like the time when I dug a hole under the fence, fell in the neighbors pool that hasn't been used in five years, the neighbor had to use a net to fish me out and shove me through the hole again, and my human yelled "that is not my dog, I don't own a green and slimy dog!". And also the time when instead of running straight to the car, I ran up the hill by my house and didn't listen to my human calling me back and when I came back I was covered from nose to tail in stickers and mud and it took my human over an hour to take all the stickers out, give me a bath and dry my fur.
So, I know what all these words mean and I can often tell by the tone of voice if I am in trouble or if I make my human happy. I have also learned to mimic my human. She presses her mouth on my forehead a lot when I come to her. So I do the same to her, I press my mouth against her arm or leg and she gets very happy. I have watched her put her foot on my toy and it makes a noise, so I do that now too. I can make my toy make noises with my paw. When my human is happy, her mouth is slightly open and I can see her teeth. I do the same when I look at her and she gets happy every time.
Well, my friends, I can tell you that I do get sad when I am alone all day and I get excited when I get to go for a walk or to the dog park. I feel jealous when my human cuddles with the kitty and not with me. I felt guilty when I thought I broke my toy and I am happy that it makes a noise again. I found this video that shows you how much us animals can feel and I hope you enjoy it. Oh well, I am having trouble attaching the video. You just have to go to the next blog and watch it. Sorry about that.
Till next time, yours truly,