Researchers have confirmed what many dog owners already knew…dogs shed emotional tears. The study flies in the face of former scientists who insisted that tears from a dog’s eyes were only to keep the tear-duct clean. And it is contradictory to the researchers who previously attempted to convince the world that dogs do not experience emotion.
Japanese researchers determined that dogs shed tears of joy when they were reunited with owners who had been away from them for five-to-seven hours. The study, conducted by academics with Azabu University and Jichi Medical, showed that dogs only “cried” when they were reunited with their owners…not with people who they knew, but who were not their guardians.
It is a study that I wish I could show one of my elementary school teachers…a man who told our class that dogs do not think and do not feel. I was a shy, introverted child, but his comment made me throw my hand in the air and speak out to let him know that he was absolutely WRONG. My family was raising a German shepherd Guide Dog puppy named Sparrow for Guide Dogs of the Blind and I KNEW that she not only had emotions but that she could think.
And she is the one dog in my life who cried hard enough when I was reunited with her after she retired from her guiding job that the tears rolled down her face. She had lived with a blind man in California for years…she retired when she was too old to perfectly execute her duties. My family picked her up at the airport and when she was reunited with us, tears quietly fell from her eyes.
My current dog is not much of a crier. He is more of a tail-thumping, shepherd talking, grab a shoe and joyously prance around the house when his family gets home type of dog. He wears his emotions on his, well paw?
But sweet Sparrow, she was a special girl with great intelligence and deep emotion. She was the dog that taught me everything that I needed to know about dogs. She was the dog who gave me the courage to speak out when my teacher tried to give bad information to my classmates.
And I am not alone – most of us know that our dogs have a wide range of emotions and they are intelligent. But thanks Japanese researchers, for confirming what we know.