Scout and Sophie

Do smell that?!

Scout hasn’t been feeling well. The vet put his on some antibiotics to ward off an infection where one of the spots was angry red and wet. The antibiotics had the unfortunate side effect of making him feel nauseated, and he vomited once. He’s been under the weather and sad.

Sophie came with me into the room to check on him, her little orange hippopotamus in her mouth. She walked over to where Scout was resting on a chaise near the window, and placed the toy by his head, sniffed him and then returned to me. Just as little kids will give their toy to make someone else feel better, that’s what Sophie did for Scout.

Perhaps you could try to convince me that dogs don’t have these feelings, that I’m anthropomorphizing. You could talk until you were blue in the face. I’d stand by what I saw. And the reason why is that the day he was in for his surgery, Sophie was unhappy and restless. When he came home, she was happy, excited. Since he returned, she frequently goes up to him, wags her tails, sniffs. She checks to make sure he’s doing okay.

So often we set aside any thought to animals having feelings. I suppose it makes it easier to do some of the things we do. But having lived with dogs, especially these smart English Shepherds, I can tell you they have feelings. And, they never cease to amaze me.

11 thoughts on “Scout and Sophie

  1. They do have feelings. I am absolutely certain of it. One time my horse Biasini was friends with the horse in the stall next to him. Then the horse was sold. Biasini called and called for him all day. Finally my coach went into Biasini’s stall and told him that the other horse had gone to a new owner, a young woman, who was going to look after him very well. Biasini stopped calling.

  2. I’ve seen dogs exhibit behavior like what you’ve described in this post, and the only word for it is empathy. Not too long ago, it was widely believed that only higher order primates could truly understand the feelings of another, but that’s beginning to change. There is emerging evidence in the field of cognitive science that suggests the capacity for empathy evolved in animals heavily reliant on social structure. But I don’t have to be a cognitive scientist to know that my dogs know when someone in our “pack” is feeling sad or sick.

    1. I have definitely heard of other dogs doing what Sophie did but have never seen it. It’s amazing. I hope at some point in the near future we will understand a lot more. Yes, dogs are very good at reading emotions.

  3. Oh no! Is Scout okay? I’m glad he has Sophie to fuss over him (I’m sure you’re doing that, too). When I had my hysterectomy and I was recovering at home, dog Molly wouldn’t leave my side. Seriously. Although I had a friend to help out, Molly refused to do anything unless I was with her. In a way, it helped me recover. I had to make myself get off the couch and take care of her. When I moved to Alaska from Illinois (way back when), I had planned to leave my dog Lisa with my mom and then fly back at Christmas and bring Lisa back to Alaska with me. But every time I opened my truck door (in the days before I hit the road), Lisa would climb in. I think she knew my plan and wasn’t having it. I ended up taking Lisa with me on the two week journey and I never regretted it. Animals know.

    1. One area around Scout’s stitches had become a bit raw so the vet gave him an antibiotic that had the side effect of nausea and possible vomiting with lethargy.
      My cat, Tiki, was a lot like your Lisa. She’d go anywhere with me even though people said cats hated to travel. She loved it as long as she was with me. The dogs have all been sensitive. Dogs also want their people around.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.