By Thursday, January 11, 2018 7 No tags Permalink

Not too long ago I read an article in an independent online publication exploring why humans show more empathy towards dogs than they do people…

It’s research confirmed that we (humans) are –

more likely to empathize with struggling dogs, than people in difficulty. Source: Independent written by Rachel Hosie

Apparently we are significantly less distressed when “adult” humans are victimized in comparison to babies, puppies and even adult dogs.


The logical “moral” decision by a vast majority of people believe we’ll be bothered more by the human’s suffering. However, surprisingly enough, the psychological fact revealed in a real-world scenario, the number of people who empathized more with the dog was substantial.

Could it be that we have adapted to responding to our “fur babies” in much the same way as we respond to human children?…

When I watch a movie where the human character gets injured, maimed or killed – I’m solid as a rock. Not because I’m some cold hearted sister with the inability to empathize – my brain just associates and accepts the fact that “this is only a movie” and I’m cool.

But let the dog get hit by a car or separated from his pet parent and I’m all liquid. Snot and tears for days.

I wasn’t always like this –

When did this happen to me?


Mr. Bill is a Eucharistic Minister who volunteers in our Pallative Care Unit at the hospital where I work. He is always jovial and the manner in which he carries himself is best described as “spiritually uplifting.” Always has a kind word to everyone he meets accompanied with an easy going smile.

Monday Mr. Bill walked through the Volunteer Services door carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. His dog passed away over the weekend and he was beside himself with grief.

Here’s a man who sits in the hospital with terminally ill patients. He comforts and consoles families as their loved ones receive end of life care.

Yet as he tried with all his might to tell me about his beloved Bischon he was literally falling apart in front of my eyes.

As I hugged him and tried to render comfort, tears slid down my cheeks and I’d never met the dog. I’d never even seen a photo! But it was a dog, it was his pet – it was a doggggggg.


Why do we feel so protective, so responsible, so parental?…

Pawhaps their unconditional love is the key! It is so addictive, the thought of them being mistreated, injured or crossing over that Rainbow Bridge is just too much for us to comprehend without our emotions racing out of control like track and field Olympian athletes.

Whatever the case –

Life for me is just better with a dog in it!…

  • Emma
    January 11, 2018

    Mom says the death of a pet is harder than the death of most people because we spend so much time together and dogs are so dependent on their humans. People are self sufficient and not around you 24/7 like most dogs are. She also feels that dogs don’t have the ability to choose. Humans have kids and should take care of them. If they can’t, they should not have the kids, but a dog doesn’t understand having puppies or being responsible for the pups for life. Humans, most humans anyway, can help themselves, even if it means a crappy job to make money. If they choose not to, then that is on them, but dogs can’t work, or support themselves, most are dependent on humans. There you have our thoughts in a long comment 🙂

  • Ann Staub
    January 11, 2018

    It is definitely an interesting study. I don’t know how humans can take care of terminally ill people… I don’t think I could handle that. At the same time, I was able to take care of terminally ill pets and even assist in their last moments. While it was sad, I never did get too emotional over it. I guess it takes different kinds of people for different types of jobs.

  • Monika & Sam
    January 11, 2018

    The passing of a dog seems to touch the deepest part of our core. Maybe because they are so dependent on us providing everything for them. And maybe it’s that caring that makes us caring humans. So sorry for your co-worker’s loss. Everything with pets seems to be at either the highest high or the lowest low emotionally.

  • Melody and Misha
    January 14, 2018

    I believe unconditional love is part of it. But I also wonder if it is because it is easier to help dogs than it is some humans. Dogs don’t talk back, they don’t refuse our aid because of pride.

    Another thought, because we understand why humans get themselves into certain predicaments, perhaps we are less likely to empathize. Dogs often find themselves in situations that they have no control over. On that note, I bet the study would find we empathize with children more than adults.

    As a side note, I wanted to share this story about my dad. He wasn’t much of an animal lover. He only tolerated our family pets. My previous dog got cancer and had her leg amputated. My dad had 5 photos in his wallet: his 4 grandchildren and Sierra. Not one of his 5 kids! She had such spirit and tenacity after the amputation that she worked her way into my dad’s heart.

    • Cathy Bennett
      January 28, 2018

      Your dad sounds like my kind of people Melody! You hit it out of the park with your comment – we DO empathize with pets and children because of their innocence. That and the fact they are so easy to love – we want to protect them and they rely on us to do just that. When something does go wrong we are stricken with guilt, empathy and heartache even if it’s not our dog.

  • Lindsay
    January 14, 2018

    We are one and the same my friend.<3

  • Jan K
    January 15, 2018

    I am exactly the same as you. I also agree with what Emma said…it is not just a dog’s unconditional love, though that is definitely a factor! – but the fact that they are dependent on us for their survival. Most human adults can take care of themselves….they are at least capable, even if all don’t do such a good job of it!
    Plus it’s the fact that they are always there. Humans move on and have their own lives, but dogs are a part of our lives every single day.

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