Many dog owners and dog enthusiasts love to tell stories of their dog whining and laying near them when they cry, protecting them when they are sick, or treating them more gently when they are hurt or tired. However, my dog is simply too energetic to care if I don't feel up to playing. A few weeks ago, I was sick and confined to the couch for a few days, and he barked and licked my face repeatedly trying to get me up...
I looked up some information about dogs and empathy and read that, as I suspected, young puppies don't have the capacity to empathize as an older dog would. Recent studies show that dogs begin to empathize when they can "catch yawns" from humans (you yawn and they yawn right after you.) I tried the yawning test with Apple, and it only worked once....and I think it was an accident!
So, I felt it was safe to say that Apple had not yet grown into his empathy. Unfortunately, the article I read concluded that dogs began developing empathy after 7 months...and Apple was already 13 months at this time.
But Apple is a large breed, and they take twice the time to mature as small/medium breeds. Today, I have more hope for Apple's empathy, because I woke up with some intense muscle spasms in my neck that were putting me on the verge of tears when trying to sit up or breathe. Steven helped me out of bed and brought me into the living room, but warned that Apple would probably jump on me and hurt me more.
However, every minute Apple has spent at home today, he has been sitting very close to me, and being very still. His behavior is completely different from when I was sick a few weeks ago, and it isn't just because he went out to play this morning, because he was behaving the same way before he went out for his Friday morning playtime.
Right now he is curled up on the couch sleeping next to me and he is so cute...I am so happy that my dog is learning how to treat his owners gently when something is wrong!
|This isn't from today, but it's still cute!|