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— May 6, 2014 —

Does your dog love you?
by Daniel McElroy Jr.

There have been differences of opinion on whether your dog “loves” you or not. Is it love and affection or is it simple opportunism and manipulation?

I for one don’t really care. I don’t NEED an answer to the question. I enjoy my dogs’ company and I think they enjoy mine. (If not, they sure aren’t trying to go anywhere else.)

While neither I, nor my dogs tend to spend a great deal of time pondering existentialist topics, the affection I feel for them is as genuine as any other. When I was asked this question recently, I initially dismissed it. I don’t care really to think about something I can’t every REALLLY know, right? After all, my dogs can’t talk. I’ve decided to answer it though, just because I think it’s time to put this to rest once and for all.

Kind of like how my dogs want to be around me…just because. I do feed them. I walk them and I give them affection and attention. Some say that that’s all there is in it for them. They love to eat, they don’t love ME.

In this article: http://blogs.chicagotribune.com/news_columnists_ezorn/2009/05/your-dog-does-not-love-you-and-other-cold-nosed-truths.html. The author says that your dog doesn’t feel any “real love” for you. It’s all just a highly developed game to get them the things they need. He says that it all just because they need food, the proof of this is that if someone else came along and started feeding them, they would “love” that person just the same. Well, this is true to a certain extent, but is there a human parallel? If a person has a life-long partner who passes on, would the fact that they can take on a new partner mean they never “loved” the first? I say no, and most would agree.

This article says something different: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2546493/Your-dog-really-does-love-Research-finds-brain-associated-affection-similar-pets-humans.html. With this new research into animal brain function, it seem that your dog might just feel some real, measurable affect for you…that they understand friendships on at least a rudimentary level.

I’d like to applaud these researchers for answering a question that most dog owners have known the answer to all along. Yes. Our dogs love us. They feel real affection when they are with us as real as the affection we feel for them. We could have saved you a lot of effort, but since you did the study anyway, we’d like to thank you. We love the results.

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