This tale involves a man named Craig, who adopted a golden retriever from an animal shelter. He was the ideal pet, obedient and as friendly as can be. But his nighttime behavior soon became a cause for concern…
The whole family grew to love their new dog, and the golden retriever seemed happy, so, therefore, it seemed at first that the adoption had been a complete success. At first, Charlie was a shy dog, but soon he began to come out of his shell and play.
Even though Charlie was settling in well, Craig began to notice something unnerving about his new dog. Charlie would watch him go to sleep every night, and the dog’s unusual behavior bothered him. As a result, the troubled owner set out to find out why his pet was acting this way. He realized that rescuing a dog from a shelter might be a little challenging, but he wanted to give a home to a dog that really needed one.
He knew that adopted dogs often came with a difficult past and may carry some emotional baggage, but he hoped to could give Charlie a better life. The responsible man had fitted his bedroom door with a gate, preventing the dog from entering at night while they were sleeping. Every night, however, when they went to sleep, Charlie would wait at the gate. And instead of drifting off to sleep, he’d watch them all night.
At first, the man put the dog’s strange behavior down to the fact that he was in unfamiliar surroundings. Perhaps he was adjusting while he settled into the family. If that was the case, his owner hoped that, in time, his new pet would relax into a sleeping routine, putting an end to his strange actions. It’s not hard to imagine why a loyal dog might stare devotedly at his master, but the fact that this dog would do it during the night while he was sleeping seemed terribly unusual.
Charlie continued to watch them sleep for nights on end. As a result, Craig grew concerned that something was wrong with Charlie. So, understandably, he did everything he could to put an end to the behavior. Initially, he thought that perhaps he wasn’t tired enough to fall asleep, so he went on to play with him at the park nearby to wear him out. Charlie, however, continued to watch him sleeping, without getting any rest himself.
At this point, Craig grew worried that something was amiss with Charlie’s health. He consequently took him to a nearby veterinary clinic for a checkup. The vet informed him that his new pooch’s physical condition was in good order and that he was a healthy dog. But although the vet’s diagnosis was encouraging, it only left the dog’s owner feeling even more confused. If everything was fine with Charlie physically, then why did he refuse to sleep?
Craig remained just as determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, so he decided to go back to the animal shelter to see if the staff there could shed some light on Charlie’s strange behavior. He asked them if they had any idea why Charlie was behaving like this, and they did! Craig was eager to find out, but unfortunately, they told Craig a sad story about Charlie and how he was abandoned at the animal shelter.
According to shelter staff, the golden retriever’s previous owner had abandoned the dog when his wife became pregnant. They thought that the responsibilities that went with both keeping a dog and raising a baby would be too much for them to handle, so that’s why brought him to the shelter. But the former owner couldn’t bear seeing his dog’s face as he walked away forever. As a result, the man waited for him to fall asleep before transporting him to the shelter.
A Strange Place
It was when Charlie awoke that he found himself in a strange place without his family. Charlie was traumatized to be all alone in an unfamiliar place. Of course, Charlie still remembered his family, and every day, he hoped they would come for him, but they never did. The poor pup didn’t know what he did to deserve this. It seems that only a couple of years ago, the idea that dogs had feelings would have been laughed at, but today we know more about the inner mind of man’s best friend.
Upon hearing this news, the animal’s new owner understood why he acted so strangely. It seemed that Charlie was heartbroken, and he was having a hard time trusting humans again. Which is why he didn’t dare rest, in case his new family also decided to dump him in his sleep. Thinking about the ordeal that his dog had been through reduced the man to tears. And when he returned home later that day, he removed the gate from his bedroom door.
A Simple Gesture
Craig was sad for Charlie and wanted to let him sleep in the same room as him, hoping that this simple gesture would help to build up Charlie’s trust in humans once more. And the man also wanted other pet owners to learn from his experiences, so he shared his story online. Perhaps if people understood more about dogs, they wouldn’t give them up so easily. Before long, the post went viral, with the golden retriever’s experience touching many hearts.
Dogs Have Feelings Too
Hearing Charlie’s story, it’s evident that dogs do experience emotions more similar to humans than we’ve previously believed. This remains a contentious issue within scientific circles, however. Dogs indeed have the same brain structures and hormonal make-up responsible for emotions in humans. They even produce oxytocin – the hormone responsible for creating the sensation of love. As a result, many people believe that dogs experience feelings just like humans do.
We Share Emotional Experiences
Nonetheless, scientists are keen not to overstate the range of emotions that dogs can feel. It’s widely agreed that most dogs have the same mental capacity as an average toddler; it would make sense that animals probably share similar emotional experiences as do young humans. These are, naturally, much more limited in scope than those of adult humans, but still, this means that they do have feelings and can experience sadness and happiness, just like a young child.
Canine Cognitive Science
Canine cognitive science advanced a lot during the past decade, and scientists can now prove that dogs do have feelings and emotions. Amazingly, these are not just simple feelings either; dogs have been shown to display more complex emotions like jealousy and frustration. It’s quite probable that they have their own set of values and principles. Researchers are now beginning to uncover just how complex their feelings really are.
Dogs Can Feel Love
Some researchers have concluded that dogs can feel simple emotions such as joy, anger, and fear. So, it’s perfectly plausible that this golden retriever would feel scared about being abandoned again by his new family. We know that they’re great at understanding our body language and voices better than any other species, but how aware are we of their signals toward us? Thankfully for us, dogs can also feel love – and hopefully, this will be Charlie’s prevalent emotion from now on with his new family.
Most dog owners would answer “yes” when asked if their dogs have a range of emotions. Scientific research is helping us get closer to understanding canine emotions, and they might not be as simple as we once thought. Overall, this story about Charlie has given us a greater appreciation for the richness of the inner lives of animals and the realization that they have feelings very much like we do, even though they don’t possess the words to express them.
Dogs Feel Empathy
There was a study that was concluded in 2012 that tried to learn more about empathy in dogs. Eighteen dogs varying in breeds were exposed to conditions where the volunteers hummed, spoke casually, or pretended to cry. None of the dogs reacted to those who were just talking, and only a few responded to the humming. But most of the dogs drew near and lightly touched the person as they were pretending to cry in an attempt to comfort them. The dogs approaching the humans who were crying would do so in a gentle, submissive way, showing empathic concern.
Our Closest Friends
It’s interesting to note all the ways that dogs are close to us. Dogs are the only non-primate animal that will maintain eye contact with people. After research on the domestication of wolves, it was expected that researchers would find eye contact to be a shared trait. It’s actually a unique behavior between humans and dogs. Dogs intentionally seek out eye contact from humans but not from their own parents, as eye contact can be a sign of aggression between dogs, but they understand that with humans, it isn’t.
One Of Their Emotions
One of the many emotions they share with humans, according to experts, is fear. While some dogs seem very brave, as they jump up on strangers or bark out windows, but they are, in reality, perfectly capable of feeling fear. This one specific emotion is actually incredibly useful to them. Dogs will show fearful postures by tucking their tail, pinning their ears back, rolling on their backs, shifting their weight backward, or even defensive aggression like snarling, snapping and lunging.
Another emotion that dogs share with humans is joy. It’s most obvious when we arrive home after a long day, and our dog is happy to see us; in fact, they seem over the moon upon our return! When dogs are feeling joy, they pounce, prance, and huff happily (that little huh-huh panting sound is sometimes termed as canine laughter). It’s easy to spot a joyful dog, and know that they’re feeling content and happy.
Dog’s Ability To Love
Even though our current knowledge of dogs and their inner emotions is limited, there is proof to suggest that dogs have the ability to love. “The hormone oxytocin is produced by dogs, and their owners have now been confirmed to increase with positive interaction,” dog trainer Jodi Cassell said in an interview. “I would say that we can affirm right now that dogs experience attachment (call it love if you will) as well as joy.”
How To Know
One way to be sure if a dog’s feeling the love is by looking out for specific signs. There is something called a ‘consent test’ where, if a dog approaches us, we can pet him for a few seconds and then pause, this gives him time to respond. If he comes closer, shows relaxed body language, and/or leans into you, that’s a good sign that he is enjoying the social interaction and wants to continue being pet.
Our Close Bond
We may wonder why we feel so close to our dogs, what is it about them that we like, as there seems to be some kind of mutual understanding between our two species. It’s a bond that has been going on for thousands of years. Perhaps working side by side with canines for so long has taught us how to communicate with one another in a way we have yet to fully understand. We could all agree that the studies show that dogs do, in fact, love us – maybe more than we ever expected.