Show Me The Love – It’s Mutual

If you’re a dog lover, you won’t be surprised to hear that most dog owners love dogs more than they love their fellow humans.  This is not just another dog lover’s opinion, studies have actually proven this fact. 

The Times of London cites two major studies that show that mankind has more empathy for dogs in need than for people in need:

In one of the studies, a medical research charity staged two phony donation campaigns to see which people would contribute to.  One was for a dog and the other for a man.  Both versions asked for a 5-pound donation to save Harrison from a slow and painful death.  The human version was of one Harrison Smith, an eight-year-old boy with muscular dystrophy.  The canine Harrison was a random picture of a dog.  The ads were run on a website in the United Kingdom, which encouraged donations to the charity.  The charity for the dog actually drew double the donation clicks than the one for the human child. 

A second study by Northeastern University showed students fake newspaper clippings about a baseball-bat attack on a puppy, an adult dog, a one-year-old child, and a thirty-year-old adult.  In the study cited, 240 students were presented with fake news articles in which the victim was attacked with a baseball bat. The victim was left unconscious with a broken leg and cuts all over different areas of the body.  Students were then asked questions to gauge their empathy for each victim.  Perhaps not surprisingly to dog lovers, the adult garnered the least amount of empathy.  According to Northeastern researchers, “Respondents were significantly less distressed when adult humans were victimized, in comparison with human babies, puppies, and adult dogs. Only relative to the infant victim did the adult dog receive lower scores of empathy.”

It’s no wonder that humans are so attached to dogs.  Dogs feel unconditional love for us, something humans are incapable of.  We feel love just by looking at a dog.  As you would expect, a 2015 study published in Science magazine stated that we bond with dogs in a similar manner that we do with human babies.  Researchers revealed that when dog owners looked into their dog’s eyes, they experienced a rise in oxytocin.  (Oxytocin is the cuddle hormone.)   This rise was not limited to humans alone, dogs also felt it.  As a matter of fact, dogs experienced a 130 percent rise in oxytocin, while humans experienced a 300 percent rise.  The human-dog bond is so strong that in another study, when people were faced with the dilemma of having to choose to save either their dog or a human from being run over and killed by a bus, more than one-third of the people surveyed opted to save their dog.

So all you dog lovers need not be embarrassed by the fact that you prefer to stay in on a Friday night with your dog as opposed to going out with friends.  Know that, when it comes to your preference in the company you keep, you’re not alone – you’re with your dog.