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Does Your Pet Love You?


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How do I know my pet loves me? I get asked this question so often.

I suppose first I need to address whether or not pets can love. They certainly do have the emotional capacity, as author Dr. Temple Grandin pointed out in her book, Animals in Translation. Others have demonstrated the same regarding the similar brain neurochemistry that dogs and cats share with us. I’m unsure about pet snakes or pet goldfish, but certainly pet parrots and pet rats may demonstrate a devotion to their people. But is this really love?

I recently asked Grandin, and her response was absolute. “Yes; why not?”

I suppose that’s an interesting way to look at it. Instead of asking if pets love, she asks why do you think they don’t?

It’s not my opinion. We now know what’s up by looking at the neurochemical soup inside brains. And, that soup looks similar in cats and dogs as it does in people.

Taking out sexual references regarding love; love might best be described as one being willing to risk life to save the life of another.

There are countless stories of dogs and cats doing just that—risking their own lives to save their human.

Studies have shown that the presence or touch of a particular person reduces the heart rates of animals like dogs, cats, and horses. That’s a sign of bonding, not just simple dependency (some argue they don’t love us, they love that we have thumbs to open refrigerators). And there are many more signs. For example, pets may follow us around the house, which is an obvious sign that they want to be with us. But, do they love us?

Love is: profoundly tender demeanor, joy in presence of another, offering expressions of affection or adoration for another, dedicated and devoted.

I don’t know about you, but that definition describes our dogs and cat on a daily basis. While pets don’t mail us Valentine’s Day cards on February 14, their love for us isn’t reserved for one day a year. They share it often, and without condition.

Fear Free Happy Homes is a website I am promoting. Pets don’t need to go to a website to understand how to demonstrate their love for us. But, sometimes even the most passionate, well-meaning, and loving pet owners might benefit from some tips, which this site provides (aside from offering really good deals on great products).

Show your pet love, and you will receive many times more love in return. I guarantee that.

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Steve Dale is a certified animal behavior specialist who has been a trusted voice in the world of pet health for over 20 years. You have likely heard him on the radio, read him in print and online, and seen him speaking at events all over the world. His contributions to advancing pet wellness have earned him many an award and recognition around the globe.

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