While staring lovingly into your dog’s eyes, have you ever wondered if he just thinks you’re crazy? I mean you do dress him in costumes, but mostly for Halloween.
However, new research suggests that this loving look may mean just as much to him as it does to you. Apparently when you and your dog make eye contact, you both get a boost of oxytocin. Oxytocin is the hormone responsible for facilitating breastfeeding and creating a bond between human parents and their offspring. It’s also thought to play a role in trust and emotional bonding.
Dog owners are already well aware that their pets have feelings, but now even crazy dog ladies (like me) can defend their actions by citing the results of this study. Blame it on the oxytocin. What’s even more interesting is the fact that this is likely an evolutionary adaptation due to our unique relationships with our pets. The result wasn’t the same when handlers gazed into the eyes of wolves.
Looking back through the photo roll on my phone that is completely saturated with pictures of my dogs, family members’ dogs and our many foster dogs, I instantly feel justified. Thank you, science, for confirming that this behaviour is OK, because after all, we’d do just about anything for the people (and dogs) we love and who love us too. These are the times I was pretty sure I had earned “crazy dog lady” status, but I now know I was just being a good doggy mom.
Like the time I entered my dog into a fashion show
Or kept buying toys despite the fact that this happened every time
The time I hand-sewed his favourite toy while he scrutinized my work
The time I let the dogs have the entire couch and I sat on the floor
The time I gave her food even though it wasn’t time to eat because that face
The time I let him mouth-breathe on me
The time my dog was in my wedding
Image: Tangled Lilac Photography
The time I wanted to make sure they felt festive on Halloween
Fess up — what crazy things have you done for your dogs?