By Tamara McRill
Remember that romantic kiss scene in Lady and the Tramp? You know the one…where they are eating a big plate of spaghetti and unknowingly slurping away at the same noodle, until their snouts meet in a smooch. Then Tramp noses the last meatball across the plate to Lady.
Aww. So adorable, right? Not to kill the cuteness factor, but have you ever wondered whether dogs can really fall head-over-paws in love like that?
Doggy love is a hard topic to find solid research on, maybe because it’s hard to qualify the emotion separate from simple affection. A lot of scientists seem to just flat out not believe in it.
Anthropologist Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Social Lives of Dogs, believes that dogs can fall in love. In her book, she tells the story of Sundog and Bean, two dogs that met each other by chance and only had the pleasure of each other’s company for a brief period of time. Bean’s owner was a builder and they were off as soon as the job was finished.
Sundog would still faithfully wait to hear the sound of the vehicle Bean’s owner drove, but to no avail. He stopped eating and slept more often. Even bringing in another female dog didn’t interest him. As for Bean, her owner believed she was yearning for Sundog, even to the extent that she would run away, looking for him.
By Linda Cole
Two stray dogs living on the streets of Terre Haute, Indiana met and “fell in love,” or so the story goes. Life took an abrupt turn, however, when the two became separated. But one of the dogs wasn’t going to let anything stop him from being reunited with his best four legged friend.
Four and a half year old Ben, a mixed breed, and one year old Jade, a German Shepherd mix, were well known strays that called the streets of Terre Haute home. How they met is anyone’s guess, but over time an incredible bond grew between them. The dogs were looked after by locals in the community, but the pair remained skittish of humans. When Jade became pregnant, the Terre Haute Humane Society (THHS) decided it was time to rescue both dogs.
Since they were comfortable with each other, the shelter kenneled them together until Jade gave birth to six healthy puppies. It was decided that they would be better in a foster home environment until the pups were weaned, and were moved to the home of Kali Skinner, one of the THHS adoption counselors. According to Skinner, “Jade was timid, but a very caring mother.” When the pups were old enough, they were put up for adoption and all quickly found forever homes.
Ben was overjoyed to see Jade when she returned to the shelter, and life was good until a young couple stopped in looking for a dog to adopt. Courtney and Jason Lawler fell in love with Ben, but they didn’t want two dogs. The couple’s three year old son, Peyton, and one dog would be all they could handle – or so they thought. Ben was led away from the shelter and his best friend, and Jade was left alone in the kennel. This might have been the end to this sad story of two friends saying goodbye, but Ben had other ideas and wasn’t about to be separated from his love.
By Julia Williams
Parents of human children rarely admit to others that they have a favorite. In my opinion, it’s probably not because they don’t feel a deeper bond with one of their kids. Every human being is a unique individual. It shouldn’t be surprising, then, to feel different things for different people.
One might say there are as many “shades of love” as there are stars in the night sky. So it’s a perfectly natural, human thing to have a favorite child, but most parents won’t admit it because the backlash can be brutal. Recently, one dad blogger received the internet equivalent of being burned at the stake after he confessed to having a favorite child. Society says we’re not supposed to play favorites with our kids. And that goes for our pets, too.
The reality is that some kids and pets are closer to our hearts than others. We may not understand why, but we know it’s true. It is what it is. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t create feelings of guilt. We think we should be able to love them all exactly the same, and we feel bad because we don’t. We can’t change what we feel, though, no matter how much we might want to.
I admit that I feel guilty for having stronger feelings for one of my cats than the other two. I positively adore Mickey and Rocky and would be a hot mess if anything happened to either one of them, but my spirit would be shattered if I lost my sweet Annabelle. I don’t know how (or even if) I could ever get over that loss, because this little cat has touched my heart in a way that I didn’t even know was possible, until one day … there it was. Annabelle is my heart cat. There will never be a cat that I love as much or more than Annabelle. As sure as I know my own name, I know this to be true.
By Linda Cole
Late one night while outside with my three dogs, the sudden presence of a coyote startled us all; my dogs quickly gathered around me. I thought it was because they were scared, but they were ready to protect me. When a dog gives us their trust, the bond we share will never be broken by the pet. The following four dogs illustrate the importance of loyalty, love and a bond that can’t be broken.
When Mari gave birth to three Shiba Inu puppies the morning of October 23, 2004, she had no idea that by the end of the day, she’d be fighting to save her puppies and a human member of her family. That fateful day, a devastating earthquake rocked Japan. The village Mari’s family lived in was hit the hardest and most of the homes collapsed, including the one Mari was in with her pups. Violent tremors, and a leash restraining her, separated Mari from her pups. She struggled to free herself, but the leash wouldn’t budge. As more tremors came, Mari gave a last desperate pull and broke free. She quickly moved her pups to a safe place before racing back into the demolished home.
The grandfather had been in his room upstairs when the quake hit. Mari found him trapped under a dresser. As the old man slowly regained consciousness, she licked his face to let him know she was there. Mari ran back and forth checking on her pups and the grandfather, her paws cut and bleeding from walking over broken glass and porcelain. The grandfather eventually found the strength to push the dresser off and with Mari’s help, got out of the collapsed home.
By Eliza Wynn
Have you ever wondered whether your dog misses someone who used to be a big part of his day-to-day life? Humans aren’t the only species with the ability to bond – or to miss those with whom they’ve bonded. Pets have feelings, and they definitely miss beloved pack members when they’re apart. The good news is that there are ways you can help ease the loneliness and stress your dog feels when a loved one isn’t around.
Spending time with your dog is always important, but it’s even more so when he misses someone. In addition to simply keeping him company while you go about your day, be sure to set aside some special time for your canine friend. He’ll appreciate playtime, walks, training games and just hanging out together. Make sure he has a job to do, and don’t forget to talk to him. Even if you’re convinced he doesn’t understand a word you say, the positive attention and the sound of your voice will be more than welcome.
Nowadays, many people travel frequently for both business and pleasure. Others move out, sometimes temporarily while attending college, but often permanently. Pets that have bonded closely with them can get lonely, anxious or even depressed. Fortunately, being apart doesn’t always have to mean complete separation; technology provides several options to bridge the gap. For example, webcams and smartphones enable users to see each other even when they’re miles apart. If your dog misses someone who’s away, try setting up a video chat. If that’s not possible, even a simple phone call in which he can hear his friend’s voice will reassure him.
Sadly, some separations are permanent. If your dog misses someone who has passed away, he will mourn the loss. Try offering an item of clothing with his loved one’s scent. Sleeping with this item should provide comfort while your dog adjusts to life without his friend. Some dogs find themselves in a new home due to the death of their owner. When this occurs, it’s a very confusing and sad time for the dog. In addition to grieving, he has to adjust to a new environment, schedule and rules. To help with this adjustment, try to maintain his original meal and walk schedule at first if you know it; you can gradually make any major changes necessary.
By Tamara McRill
We love our dogs like they are part of the family, but they are more than just cute rambunctious balls of fur offering endless amusement. They can actually make a family unit stronger, on emotional and physical levels. Sometimes I think we can only aspire to give as much back to those we love as our pets enrich our lives.
How do dogs make a family bond stronger and help us live better lives? Let’s count the ways.
1. Creating Memories and Milestones
If you’ve ever been around a tightly knit family, then you have probably heard a few stories about their shared recollections and probably a few pet memories. Having a dog creates a shared being to love, and we tend to note the things those we love do. And dogs seem to provide endless antics for us to notice.
Beyond their antics, milestones in our pets’ lives become ones in our own. When my family begins reminiscing about past Christmases, the first one brought up is almost always the Christmas Eve our family dog, Daisy, had puppies. She brought extra joy to the holiday and added to our family history.
2. Bonding Over Common Ground
It’s these moments and what people have in common that make them close. People are so diverse in interests, and just plain busy doing their own thing, that common ground can be hard to find, even if they are related. Even when family members feel like they have little to say to each other, they can still talk meaningfully about their pets, or work together to feed or play with them.
This can open the channels of communication and lead to further conversation on other topics, instead of everyone retreating behind closed bedroom doors.