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Do you feel like your dog “gets you”? Like the old country song, does your pup say it best, when they say nothing at all? It’s not your imagination, or wishful thinking…there’s science in there!
As dogs have spent thousands of years adapting to, and promoting, human interaction, both their behavior and their physical characteristics have evolved to the beloved pet we have today. Dogs have become, well, cuter. It’s true! Just like how we are drawn to big-eyed babies with chubby cheeks (and tend to tolerate lots of crying and sleepless nights as a result), we are pulled to dogs in the same way. Dogs are the softer version of wolves. Hence, those sweet faces and puppy dog eyes!
Dog evolution has changed your pet’s facial structure and movement to better respond and communicate with you. Take eyebrows…you may not think much of yours; you may pluck them, shave them, or just consider them window dressing, but they serve a purpose. Eyebrows helped humans communicate with one another through time, saying, “I’m friendly”, or, “I’m angry”, or maybe, “come hither”. It’s one of the ways the human race has survived over time, and thrived, as we found methods to make our intentions known.
Humans have selected dogs over time that possess that means of human communicative skill and child-like similarity. Whether we really understand what a dog eyebrow raise really means, we think we do, and we are drawn to it. When dogs move their brows and show those big eyes, we feel like they are interested in us, want to be with us and need us. When they give that expression that says, “Don’t leave!” it breaks our hearts. Those are powerful pulls, aren’t they?
Dogs who use these almost human expressions actually get adopted faster from shelters. It’s an evolutionary adaptation that’s definitely working. We want to take care of our dogs and keep them happy, healthy, and loving us. It just goes to show how much we, as humans, have connected with dogs and think of them as part of our human family.
We wanted to introduce our new Cummings Veterinary Hospital Stories blog. So, hello, friend, glad to see you here! Our intent, and it’s evolving daily, is to provide you with professional medical insights, personal stories (the ones that make you laugh and cry), interesting cases, musings of veterinary professionals, and more. We think it will be informative and fun. This is NOT a forum for medical advice, save that for your wonderful interactions with the staff at Cummings’, but we do hope to bring something new to your day. If you have ideas, questions, or comments, let us know! See you soon!