There’s a study out that tries to address whether or not dogs actual feel love and affection toward a human or just respond to stimuli, i.e.; wagging their tail when being fed, petted or otherwise enticed. I’m not sure how they (whoever “they” are) conducted the study, but with the way things are unfolding these days, undoubtedly, they were looking for the universal truth that can only exist by finding a talking dog (who would have to subject himself to a lie detector, of course) to bare his soul.
This tidbit got my notice because, if dogs don’t feel love and affection, a lot of us are being duped by clever canines who manipulate us into providing a comfortable environment; and if that’s true, it’s like finding out the tooth fairy doesn’t fly into your room to leave money under your pillow for a lost tooth, he actually sneaks in on two legs.
Dogs are trained to do many functions for us, either by command or by instinct. Seamus hunts for grouse – or any bird, really – because of genetics any time he gets the chance to be afield. But when I’m along, he does it in my proximity and, even though he might range at times, he finds me when he realizes I’m out of his sight.
We train dogs to be guard dogs, leader dogs for the blind, trackers and companion dogs for the infirm. And I’m sure that’s a learned function for the most part. But when a connection is made between the handler or client, something else takes over that can’t be taught …affection and devotion.
Having been gone for five days, when I returned home recently, the greeting I got from Seamus was nothing less than happiness that equated into “where in the hell have you been? Don’t you know we’re a team?”
If his bladder had been full, I’d have had to mop the foyer. And the reason I know it was genuine affection is, I didn’t even have a piece of bacon in my pocket.