From Lassie to Old Yeller to Scooby Doo, the proof is in our popular culture: dogs are an integral part of the human experience. A quick search for “dog” on the Internet Movie Database returns 13,989 results. Have you ever thought about why we love dogs so much?
When people are asked what they adore most about their dogs, one of the most common responses is that they provide unconditional love. We know that even if we are frazzled or agitated or raise our voice on a bad day, our dogs will faithfully cuddle up against us that evening, content just to be by our side, forgetting the stress of the day. Dogs forgive us quickly, and recently, it was found that they forgive one another as well.
A team of researchers at Butler University conducted a study to determine whether dogs are capable of reconciliation / forgiveness. The study revealed that following all cases of observed conflict between two dogs, both the victim and the aggressor displayed reconciliation behaviors. In fact, the dog pairs involved in the conflicts tended to spend even more time together after the conflict occurred.
The researchers concluded that the dogs spent time with one another after a conflict in an effort to reduce the stress associated with uncertainty about future conflict – really amazing findings, and further proof that we just don’t deserve dogs! 🙂
No word yet on whether my cat is still mad at me for being 2 minutes late with her meal last week. (Just kidding – our feline friends are purrrrrfect just the way they are.)