The answer to this question is a resounding yes! The connection people have with their pets is a source of unending fascination to me. The flowery words they use to describe the animal/human relationship are evidence of how they feel about their pets. And even though animals can’t use flowery words, they do a good job of communicating their love for us in different ways. When I asked my friends how their pets make them feel unconditionally loved, I received so many beautiful answers. Here is a sampling:
They Comfort Us
My friend Kim talks about her animals all the time. She marvels at the fact that, when she’s hurting, her dog and cats will curl up with her. “It’s like they sense my distress and want to comfort me.”
Taylor’s little dog Brynnie recognizes when she’s having nightmares and will stand on her chest and gently paw her face until she awakens. You see, Taylor has PTSD and often has horrible nightmares. She’s so grateful that her dog seems to understand and helps her through the tough times.
The other day my friend Jenn choked as she was drinking a glass of water. She describes it this way “As I fell forward onto my knees trying not to die from the very substance that gives me life, my dog came running over to make sure I was OK and tucked his head under my arm. No one else in the house so much as paused their video game to make sure I wasn’t actually as close to dying as my dog and I were both convinced I was. Dogs are the best.”
How a lost pet is able to find their way back home is still a mystery. What’s even more remarkable is how some pets can find their owner no matter where they are. Whether it’s a homing instinct or a determined desire to be with the person they love, some lost pets have traveled far to find their home or owner. For a lost pet, there’s danger around every corner, but these dogs and cats never gave up.
Howie, a three year old Persian cat, traveled 1,200 miles through the Australian Outback in 1978 to find his way home. When Kirsten Hicks and her family went on an overseas vacation, they left Howie with her grandparents. After returning to Australia, Kirsten was told Howie had disappeared, so the Hicks family returned to their home in Adelaide with heavy hearts. In the meantime, Howie was traveling through the inhospitable lands of the Outback heading towards home. No one knows what he encountered or went through, but a year later he finally made it back home, dirty, hungry, thirsty and with an injured paw. Howie had walked from the Gold Coast, Queensland to Adelaide.
Prince, an Irish Terrier, moved with his family during WW I from Ireland to England in 1914. His owner, Private Brown, was serving in the army and went home on leave every chance he got to visit his wife and Prince. Each time he returned to base, Prince grew sadder. Finally, Private Brown was shipped overseas to France. Prince grew more depressed and stopped eating. One day he disappeared and Mrs. Brown frantically searched for him. She knew she had to write her husband and let him know what had happened. Brown was holed up in the trenches of Armentieres, in Northern France, when he got her letter. What Mrs. Brown didn’t know was that Prince had found his way to the English Channel and somehow got on a boat or swam across the water. When he reached France, he searched the war torn land as bombs exploded and tear gas filled the air to find Private Brown in the trenches. What Prince accomplished was truly an amazing act of courage and love.
Nick, a German Shepherd, belonged to Doug Simpson. In 1979, Nick was lost while on a camping trip with Doug. Unable to find him, Doug had no choice but to return to his home in Selah, Washington. Nick was lost in the Arizona Desert some 2,000 miles away. The dog had to fend for herself in some of the most inhospitable land on earth. She had to cross deserts where water was nowhere to be found, swim freezing rivers, cross over 12,000 foot mountains and navigate the Grand Canyon on her way home. She arrived four months later, just a shell of the dog she was. Doug could see her difficult journey in her emaciated, bloody and battered body. It was obvious there was no obstacle tough enough to keep Nick from getting back home to the person she loved.
Sugar, a two year old Persian cat, didn’t like traveling in a car because of a hip deformity that made it uncomfortable for him to ride for long distances. In 1951, the Woods family decided to leave their home in Anderson, California and move to a farm in Gage, Oklahoma. They decided it would be better to let Sugar be adopted by a neighbor. Sugar apparently didn’t like his new digs and three weeks after his family moved, he headed out to find them. It’s one thing for a pet to find their way back to a home they’re familiar with, but Sugar traveled 1,500 miles in search of a home he had never been to. It took him fourteen months, but he was successful in his quest and when he saw his owner, he leaped up on her shoulder.
Sophie Tucker would have followed her heart to find her home, if there hadn’t been an ocean between her and her owner. A gray and black cattle dog, Sophie Tucker was with her family on their yacht when bad weather hit around the coastal town of Mackay, Queensland. She fell overboard and became lost in the ocean. She had to navigate through rough, shark infested waters, swimming six miles to St. Bees Island. After she got to the island, she survived by hunting wild goats. Wildlife rangers were called in to investigate when several carcasses were found, and there they discovered the lost dog. Sophie Tucker didn’t have to travel far to get home, but she did have to overcome great odds to make it to the island in the first place and then survive on her own.
Never underestimate the power of a strong bond, and the unconditional love of a pet!
Want to win some goodies for your cat or dog? CANIDAE has a fun caption contest on their Facebook page today. To enter, just come up with a great caption for the cat photo at right, and hop on over to their Facebook page! The caption with the most likes by Wednesday at 9 AM will win a voucher for a bag of CANIDAE pet food and a bag of treats.
When I walk in our front door, my dogs are happy to see me. It doesn’t matter if I’ve been gone for hours or days. I know they’re happy because they wiggle, dance and squirm. Their tales wag excitedly and they push each other out of the way, trying to get closer to me. They are happy to see me because they love me.
It seems obvious to me that dogs feel emotions similar to humans. In reality, however, the existence of emotions in animals has long been a point of scientific dispute. In fact, 17th-century scientists and philosophers such as René Descartes and Nicholas de Malebranche asserted that dogs were nothing more than living machines that can be programmed to do things. They believed that given the proper stimulus and motivation a dog could be easily programmed, but that they feel nothing and know nothing.
Modern science has evolved from that theory, and come to recognize that animals have a similar chemistry, hormones and even brain structure as those that create emotions in humans. Because a dog’s neurology and chemistry are similar to a human being, it’s sensible to assume that our emotional ranges are similar, but that’s not exactly the case. Yes, it’s true that dogs have emotions which are similar to ours, but not the same as a fully-developed adult human. Research indicates that dogs have the emotional ranges and mental abilities comparable to that of a two to two-and-a-half year old human.
Dogs often inspire humans in ways that we don’t think about consciously. We sometimes take what they give us for granted. Sitting back and looking at our interactions with these wonderful animals can make us realize how truly inspirational dogs can be. They can teach us the most basic life lessons in a very pure, unassuming way.
Dogs know how to keep us company. Granted, they can’t talk to us in words the way we do with each other, but they are steady and always there when we need them to be. They ask very little in return and happily stay by our side with no question or judgment. They don’t burden us with emotional baggage or betrayal, and they know how to give of themselves unconditionally. Dogs like being around their humans; it makes them content to simply have you nearby.
Although it may not seem like dogs are patient when they bark for attention, jump around anxiously to go out, or grumble for food, think about how many times they patiently wait for us to play with them, feed them or give them a little attention on our busy days. Dogs are usually much more patient than our human children.
I’ll never forget the day we met. I was living in that noisy place with lots of other dogs, sleeping on concrete. Lots of people came to that place. Most of them would look at me behind those bars and pass right by. Then on that fateful day, one of the workers came and took me out in the yard. He told me, “Petey (that’s what they called me there), we’ve got someone we want you to meet. Come on, big boy.”
And there you were, already out in the yard. You looked so pretty and white and dainty. And you smelled really good. You were fun to play with, too. Friendly, but you didn’t take any guff. You quickly let me know who was boss, and that was okay with me. We got along from the very beginning.
That was the best day ever. Meeting you has changed my life.
I love being your boyfriend. Your house is warm and you let me get up on the soft furniture. The food is good here too. I know you like me to wait until you have finished eating your CANIDAE before I start. It’s clear that you are the boss of me. That’s fine. There is always plenty to eat and drink. You are so good to me.
One of the best things about living with you is those two people who work for you. They feed us and pet us and clip our toenails. They take us for walks and car rides and runs in the woods. We even get to sleep in their bed. No more concrete floors! Thanks for letting me share them. I love you and our life together, Frosty. Thank you for everything.
A Valentine Message from Frosty to Al:
You’re a big, clumsy, stinky mess… but you’re my stinky mess. For many years it was just me, the humans and the cat. I didn’t mind being single, but being your girlfriend is more fun. When our people leave the house, I’m not alone. Well, I wasn’t really alone before but I can’t count the cat. He doesn’t like to play the same way that you and I do. See, that’s the thing: I like having someone to wrestle with and boss around. The cat won’t let me do that.
My favorite time together is when you and I are running free in the woods, racing each other at top speed. The wind blows our ears back while we playfully body slam each other, good-naturedly growling and snarling and yapping. Good times.
One thing I’d like you to work on, however, is your neediness. When the humans are petting me, you always run up and butt in. You push me out of the way and shove your head under their hand. And when I’m sitting on the couch curled up against one of them, you try to wedge in between us. Why must you be so desperate, Al? I find that a bit unattractive.
Otherwise, I appreciate you. When I hurt my leg you took such good care of me. You were attentive and concerned, you wouldn’t leave my side. When I tried to stand up and get around on three legs, you were right there, encouraging me to keep trying. You didn’t want to do anything that I couldn’t do. You didn’t even want to go out in the yard if I wasn’t there. I’m glad my leg is getting better but it certainly showed me how much you love me. You are a good dog, Al, and I’m glad to be your girlfriend.
Recently, a Facebook friend posted a link to an article about cats that really got my goat. It claimed a scientific study had determined that cats hate it when you touch them and only pretend to love humans for the fringe benefits we provide. “While cats may look all fuzzy and adorable on the outside, research shows that they really are the cold, unfeeling monsters the world thinks they are,” the article stated.
It’s not the first time an obviously anti-cat person went on a diatribe about what awful, unloving creatures cats are, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. What I found particularly egregious about this one was the use of “science” to back up the author’s negative feelings about cats.
I told my friend that this was the most ridiculous article I have ever read. It was ridiculous because anyone who loves cats knows that every statement the cat hater made was untrue. We don’t need science to tell us that if we take the time to understand our cats as individuals and find ways to bond with them, that they will – and most certainly do – love us back. My cats Mickey, Rocky and Annabelle are positive proof of that.
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, firm, corporation or brand names, in this blog is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. All opinions in this blog are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company.