The love and devotion my ultimate concierge and I have received from our dogs, our beautiful Orchid and our deliciously-happy America, have outweighed any troubles either pooch has gotten themselves into. Such examples include eating shoes, awakening me at 3:00 am to take a necessary walk or running off with my clothes. Our Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers have brought a sense of serenity and joy into our otherwise hectic, busy lives.
The benefits and surprises of having a dog as a family member make all dog lovers’ hearts sing.
Our Pets’ Emotional Capacities
There is no benefit for dog owners like Shelly and myself to expect what cannot be expected from our pooches. For example, our dog will never be able to feel guilt. You may think your pooch experiences guilt when you arrive home to find his droppings on the floor while he slinks around. He is slinking because he has learned that bad things will happen to him so what you are really seeing is his fear of punishment.
We all know that our dogs experience basic emotions including love, fear, shyness, distress, arousal, contentment, joy and anger. But did you know that dogs do not experience more complex emotions such as guilt, contempt, pride and shame?
This happens because dogs’ emotional development stops at approximately two and a half years old. Science has progressed a long way and we know that dogs possess all of the same brain structures that produce emotions in humans because they have the same hormones and undergo the same emotional changes that we do under emotional states.
They have oxytocin, which brings forth love and affection, explains Stanley Coren. However, Coren notes that the range of human and dog emotions differs because our pooches’ minds are equivalent to roughly a two-year-old grandchild. A child does not fully understand the emotions of guilt, shame and pride until they are three years of age and they don’t typically understand contempt until age four.
So, my darlings, only expect from your divine doggies what they are able to understand and feel.
A True Story of a Dog Owner’s Love
It was a rainy weekend and my daughters were bored. They came up with the idea that we should get another dog. I don’t recall how we found our new furry friend, although I do remember a litter of pups caged in a dark basement. Obviously, today I would have never gone down into a stranger’s basement.
My youngest daughter chose the runt of the litter and my other daughter and I agreed because we felt sorry for the little tyke. We took him home and he never quite adjusted to our family. Off of our kitchen was a dark powder room and the dog made it his home. Obviously it reminded him of his ragged home in the dark basement. At that time, we were a busy family and the poor little fellow did not receive the extra care he needed until he met his new owners.
One day, three years later, I made the decision to find the dog a loving home. I placed a clever add in the newspaper and had lots of lookers who I turned away. I was giving this pooch away and I was determined to find him the home of his dreams.
Our Pooch’s New Home
One day, an older couple stopped by our home. Their children were grown. They were a gentle, warm couple who had lost their dog.
I told them the story of our dog. I told the couple they could return him. And, I asked them to keep me updated on his progress and their happiness. They kept their promise and gave our little 3-year-old pooch a life set for a king.
It was tender love and care that turned our pooch from a shy, distressed dog into the king of the mountain!
King of the Mountain Indeed
After approximately two weeks, the woman phoned me and told me the dog was sleeping outside their bedroom door. Our phone rang a few weeks later and I heard a joyful voice over the line tell me the pooch was sleeping next to her side of the bed. Not long after, she rang again with laughter and joy because the dog was sleeping in bed with this wonderful couple.
They understood the mentality of a dog. With their tenderness and warmth, they wrapped their arms around him lovingly and he responded by returning his love.
Over time, she would call me to tell me about their experiences with the dog. They took him out for dinner to a restaurant every Friday night, to the Kentucky Derby every year and on various trips across the country. He had outfits for the Derby and steak night every Friday night. Because dogs cannot feel embarrassment, he went along with their program!
And as the Beatles say, all you need is love…
So Much Love For Our Pooches
Dogs give us signals of their love. Wet kisses on our faces are outpourings of their affection and enjoyment. When they rest their paw on our body, it’s a signal of affection and many other things–all positive.
A dog’s favorite member of the family is usually the person who matches their energy level and personality. Dog sleep with us because dogs travel in packs and they are telling you that you are a member of their pack.