Monday, December 30, 2013

Dog Guards Dead Friend

As if we didn't have enough examples of the loyalty of dogs, this latest video, taken in China, shows a dog who spent a full day and night guarding the body of his dead companion who had been killed by a car in the middle of a busy road.

This loyal friend only moved out of the road after someone finally moved the body of the dead dog from the highway and buried him or her in a park.

It was just two months ago that scientists at Emory University completed a study in which dogs were trained to enter an MRI scanner so that the scientists could measure their brain responses to a variety of actions. Gregory Berns, one of the neuroscientists conducting the study, wrote in the New York Times:

"In dogs, we found that activity in the caudate increased in response to hand signals indicating food. The caudate also activated to the smells of familiar humans. And in preliminary tests, it activated to the return of an owner who had momentarily stepped out of view...Many of the same things that activate the human caudate, which are associated with positive emotions, also activate the dog caudate. Neuroscientists call this a functional homology, and it may be an indication of canine emotions.  The ability to experience positive emotions, like love and attachment, would mean that dogs have a level of sentience comparable to that of a human child."
Berns' work is important because it gives scientific validity to those who need it. But videos like the one taken in China show us, in the simplest of terms, how clearly dogs feel emotions.
The question is: what are we going to do with that knowledge?