Have you ever looked into your pet’s eyes and wondered what they may be feeling?
Many people ponder whether or not animals have the ability to truly feel such compelling emotions like depression, anxiety, jealousy and happiness? Time after time I see for myself, as well as hear of so many stories that represent the validity of their engrained ability to do so.
The next time you visit a dog park, take the time out to really observe the interaction between all of the furry friends playing together. You too may begin to notice that dogs seem to have a means of communication all their own. Watch the dog’s stance, their tails, the eyes, the ears and their mouths. I have watched dog’s play with such jubilation that I now recognize when they are smiling, sometimes even laughing. Once someone took a photo of me sitting down beside one of the sweetest and happiest dogs I have ever met. When I received the actual photo I noticed the dogs mouth was open from ear to ear as if she was smiling for the camera.
I began to see this same smile while observing dogs playing in the dog park. Watching a Labrador chase after an Australian Shepard and then jumping on top of him with a loud exhale or pant makes really me ponder if this was truly a happy dog laughing with jubilee. But don’t just take my opinion regarding the matter. There are many studies that contain scientific evidence of animals experiencing a wide range of emotions.
Psychology Today has articles that depict evidence of elephants and chimpanzees that show signs of feeling grief when a member of their family dies. There are documented studies that animals in zoos depict physical signs of anxiety and depression. For instance, have you ever noticed monkeys or tigers that pace back and forth in their cage? This could be a sign of frustration and anxiety as a result of living pent up in a restrictive space.
I know from first hand experience that cats experience jealousy. Whenever I am petting my cat Q-T, my other cat Harley (he purrs just like a Harley Motorcycle) comes right up to me begging for attention. His timing along with his agressive swipe of his claws at Q-T alerts me that Harley may be feeling jealousy. Similar to dogs, cat’s tails communicate so much about their moods. A cat’s tail pointing down may indicate caution, however, a cat tail that is pointing straight up depicts a friendly mood.
If we truly take the time to tune into the Animal Kingdom around us we can learn so much about our own ability to feel as well as tune into the feelings of other living creatures. Animals teach us unconditional love, patience, kindness, and compassion, a gift that we should all relish and then pass on. You don’t have to be Saint Francis of Assisi to communicate with animals so why not start today. Start by simply observing their body language, and taking the time out to look them in the eyes as you praise them with comforting words. If you don’t have a pet at home there is most likely a bluebird in your backyard right now singing a song made just for you!
”The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”. Ghandi
*Mark Bekoff, Psychology Today (resource)
Photo Credit: Exfordy