New Studies Show Humans Love Dogs More Than Other Humans
What if a human and a dog stood side-by-side and both needed help, but you could only choose one. It wouldn’t be an easy decision, would it? Some studies reveal when it comes to feeling empathy, many people pick pooches over other people. Does that surprise you?
Sociologists and anthropologists from Northeastern University and the University of Colorado pondered why, when reports of animals in need make headlines, the outrage and response level is sometimes higher than when tragedies impact humans.
The researchers asked 256 college students to read a fictitious news report, and reveal their levels of empathy for a brutally beaten adult or child versus an adult dog or puppy.
The results: The undergrads felt more empathy toward the dogs than the adult human. The study says, “We also found more empathy for victims who are human children, puppies, and fully-grown dogs than for victims who are adult humans. Age makes a difference for empathy toward human victims, but not for dog victims.”
The study also mentions a British charity which also conducted its own dog-versus-person empathy experiment. It ran a fundraising campaign featuring two versions of the same ad.
According to the research, “Both contained text that read, ‘Would you give £5 to save Harrison from a slow, painful death?’ One version featured a picture of the real Harrison Smith, an eight-year-old boy diagnosed with Duchenne (Muscular Dystrophy). The other featured a stock photo of a dog.
When the ads ran on MSN’s United Kingdom website with links to donate to the charity, the one depicting the dog attracted twice as many clicks as the one with the boy (230, compared to 111).”
Why would people pick pooches over people? The study pontificates: “It may be that many people appraise dogs as vulnerable, regardless of their age, when compared to adult humans. In other words, dogs, whether young or adult, are seen as possessing many of the same qualities associated with human babies; they are seen as unable to fully protect themselves, compared to adult humans.”
Psychotherapist Justin Lioi agrees. “We are more able to empathize with someone whom we deem to have little blame for their circumstances,” Lioi told I Love My Dog. “Dogs and babies are the definition of didn’t-ask-for-this and we are more likely to rush to support them.”
Dr. Kathrine McAleese, a sociologist and systemic psychotherapist, has clients who work extensively with dogs. She said she sees this phenomenon regularly. “People who fit this study’s outcomes will often view animals as innocents and humans as not having the same purity,” McAleese told I Love My Dog. “When I ask them why they will spend money on their dog’s health, fitness, nutrition, yet not on themselves, the overwhelming answer I get is ‘because my dog deserves it.’”
McAleese adds dog trainers have told her how they struggle to have patience or empathy for the owner, yet have endless patience for the dog. “Why? The dog can’t speak up for itself, so they are the dog’s advocate,” she said.
The study results didn’t surprise certified behaviorist and animal trainer, Russell Hartstein either. He told I Love My Dog: “Dogs provide unconditional love and many times people form stronger bonds with their pet than with another human.”
Hartstein said many of his clients take such good care of their pets, that it’s similar to how some care for their children. “From going to school for behavior and training, health, nutrition, wellness, enrichment and play, people form very close intimate bonds with their best friends.”
What do you think of the study? We’d love to hear from you! Leave your comments below and let us know!
Contributed by: Mary Schwager, aka, WatchdogMary , a TV and print journalist that proudly watchdogs for animals. She’s honored to have won 14 Emmy, 7 Edward R. Murrow and Associated Press awards for investigative reporting & writing.
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Man’s About To Return His Shelter Dog, When He Reads Previous Owner’s Note:
Man’s About To Return His Shelter Dog, When He Reads Previous Owner’s Note:
A man had finally settled into his new town, but something still felt missing from his life. He thought getting a companion in the form of a shelter dog might help. So he did just that. He went to the shelter where a black Lab named Reggie needed a home. But they didn’t hit it off right away.
The man gave it two weeks (the amount of time the shelter said it may take for the dog to adjust to his new home), but it just wasn’t working out. Maybe it was the fact he was also trying to adjust to a new situation. Maybe they were too much alike. But then the man started going through Reggie’s stuff, and that’s when he was reminded of a letter the previous owner had left with the dog. That’s what would end up changing their lives dramatically.
What an amazingly beautiful story. It’s all going to work out for Tank and his new owner. 🙂
The Tick Epidemic: What You Need To Know And How To Properly Remove Them:
Ticks are disgusting. They burrow their tiny heads into your skin to feed on you like vampires. What you need to understand is:
1. You do not have to be outdoors often to get bit
2. Your dog doesn’t have to be outside often to get bit AND…
3. Removing ticks the right way is extremely important in protecting your entire family from tick-borne illnesses.
I’ll say it again: You do not have to be an active, outdoorsy person to contract a tick-borne illness and neither does your dog. It only takes a matter of seconds for a tick to attach itself– and once it does, a number of illnesses can be transferred to you. Some of which are potentially fatal to you and your dog!
These pesky critters can pass diseases from other mammals to humans. Research scientist Goudarz Molaei explains to CNN that up to 15 diseases can be passed to humans (OR to dogs) from three different species of ticks: the Deer Tick, the Lone Star Tick, and the Dog Tick.
The most threatening, however, is the Black-Legged Tick. It’s responsible for the transmission of at least five disease agents: Babesiosis, Anaplasmosis, Borrelia Miyamotoi, Powassan Virus and Lyme Disease.
Lyme’s is the most common tick-borne illness with over 30,000 new cases of Lyme’s Disease reported every year, according to the CDC. And with rising winter temperatures, that number is expected to grow.
While early Lyme’s symptoms usually include moderate fever, chills, mild to severe muscle aches and pains, and rashes– they can worsen causing widespread inflammation of the nervous system.
Lyme’s is most successfully treated early on YET ticks are so darn small to the human eye that the disease often goes untreated. Not to mention the early symptoms can mimic an average virus or flu.
If Lyme’s is treated early on with antibiotics, your chances for a full recovery increase drastically. Same goes for your dog!
REMEMBER: It’s important that you remove a tick ASAP and you remove it correctly!
Do not pull too hard and break the head off inside the skin! Doing so can lead to further infection! For proper removal, you should:
Use fine-tipped tweezers and reach down toward the end of the head
Squeeze the tweezers tight so they don’t slip off
Slowly and firmly pull the tick out
No one wants you or your pet to suffer! Be diligent: wear long sleeves and pants in wooded areas, make sure your pet has flea and tick prevention on at all times, check yourself and your pet BEFORE coming inside the house. You can never be too careful.
Make sure to share this post to help keep others aware of the dangers and as safe as possible!
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) recently got an urgent call about a healthy five-year-old dog. The temperatures were hitting record highs and 729 calls came in that day alone. They then received devastating news:
“This morning we were informed a local dog died of heat stroke after being taken on a walk at 9 am when the temperature was 21 degrees (Celsius),” the RSPCA Altrincham Cheshire Branch said in a statement.
Healthy Dog Dies After Routine Walk, Owner’s Warning Others:
For five days straight, temperatures soared past 30 degrees Celsius (or 86 degrees Fahrenheit). In direct sun and with humidity, the heat index soared even higher.
Despite numerous warnings by the RSPCA, dog owners were still seen walking their dogs during the hottest times of the day.
“The dog was otherwise fit and healthy. Despite lots of warnings about the heat we still see dogs being walked to the shops, on the school run, or as soon as owners get in from work,” the RSPCA said.
“Yesterday the highest temperature for the day was at 4 pm but this is when most of the dogs we spotted were out and about. It does not matter if your dog is white, young, not a bull breed or ‘used to the heat’. Please be mindful of its needs.”
Public Domain Photo
Heat stroke can have devastating consequences. If temperatures rise too high and your pet cannot cool himself down, the results can be catastrophic.
Signs of Heatstroke:
staggering while walking
high body temperature
a dark or bright red tongue
sticky or dry gums
If your dog is exhibiting any of these signs or symptoms, call your veterinarian immediately.
Try to bring your dog’s temperature down slowly with cool, NOT COLD, water. Give them some water to drink and watch their breathing closely.
“We do understand the crucial nature of walking your dog, however, please bear in mind that walking in high temperatures can cause serious and irreversible damage, and in some cases death,” the RSPCA said.
Taking your dogs for walks is an important part of their routine, however, there are essential things to keep in mind during warmer months.
Besides suffering from heatstroke, dogs can also sunburn. Dogs light in color are at an increased risk. White dogs especially!
Check out, Rory! A staff writer’s rescue pup 🙂 With her white fur and pink skin, she’s at an increased risk for sunburn. In fact, she will burn after only 10 minutes in the sun! And boy is it painful!
To avoid sunburn, your dog should not be in direct sunlight for extended periods of time. You can also look into sunscreen made just for pets. Check out Epi-Pet skin treatment!
When applying sunscreen, be sure to get your dogs ears, nose and back, as well as the skin around his mouth.
You should also be careful with your dog’s paws in warmer months. You can check out our article on the 11-second paw test here!
Our rule of thumb is: If you walk outside and it’s too hot for you, then it’s too hot for your dog as well!
If routine walks are the only way for your pooch to relieve himself then consider walking him in grassy, shaded areas when the sun isn’t so strong (during early morning hours and late in the evening when the sun has set).
Quicker walks are also recommended. If your dog can relieve himself within a few minutes, then it’s time to turn around and go home. Try exercising your pup indoors. Fido will LOVE playing a game of fetch in the soothing airconditioning.
Most importantly, look for the signs of your dog in distress. Your dog has his own way of telling you when he’s not feeling well. Pay close attention!