From: Slate

What I Learned About Dogs and Love While Crossing the Country With My Lab

Slate:

Casey and I stopped in Sarasota, Florida, to meet Cary, a woman who’d read about my journey and suggested that I come meet her black Lab, Pepe. I told her and her husband, Mike, about Piper, a dog I was going to meet that afternoon in Tampa. Piper had bitten a home intruder two years prior, only to have the robber stab her with a crowbar.

“Poor dog,” Cary said. “If someone stabbed my dog, that would be like someone stabbing my child. To me, my pets are like my children. I love them the same.”

Although I adore dogs, I’m surprised when I hear people equate their love for their pets with their love for their kids. Did Cary actu­ally mean to say there’s no differencebetween the depth of love she feels for her daughters and the affection she has for her dog? If so, was that a sign of some advanced and egalitarian perspective on the value of dif­ferent species? Or was it a sign of insanity? Whatever the case, did Cary really want her daughters to see that in print?

Read the whole story: Slate

Comments

Nice piece, but the author’s conclusion at the end – that his dog may not notice and probably would not care if its owner died – is a bit shocking and doesn’t seem founded on the research he is investigating at all. He should check out research by this author: http://www.npr.org/2013/05/27/185815445/questions-for-barbara-j-king-author-of-how-animals-grieve

Other animals are not like humans, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have similarities – we evolved from the same ancestors. Jaak Panksepp and Frans de Waal are two of many scientists conducting interesting research on animal emotions, empathy, etc., and have written thoughtful pieces on this topic. I’m surprised the author didn’t talk to them, Barbara King, or others before concluding with so much confidence that a dog isn’t capable of feeling sadness or even showing any stress behaviors after losing its owner.

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