There’s no doubt we love our dogs, but do our dogs really love us back? Most of us who have experienced the pure joy of a beloved furry friend would say a resounding yes, and now there is scientific proof that the human - dog connection goes deeper.
Whether it’s that joyous, tail wagging welcome when you step in through the door. Those enthusiastic, slobbery kisses. Or that reassuring way they rest their head in your lap when you’ve had a ruff day. Dogs seem eager to show us their love, which is partly why we love them so much. Now the science is backing up what pet owners have long felt in their hearts.
It’s in their doggy brains
In a study inspired by his own rescue dog, neuroscientist Professor Gregory Burns used MRI scans of dogs’ brains to show how just how special the bond between people and their dogs really is.
Professor Burns was compelled to learn more after adopting his dog Callie, and underwent the painstaking process of training her, and other dogs, to sit still for the scans.
On a recent episode of SBS TV program Insight, Professor Burns discussed his studies mapping the canine brain, looking at areas of the brain that respond most strongly to rewards, such as treats. He found that the same area of the brain lit up when dogs were presented with the scent of their owners.
“That is important because it shows that dogs recognise the scents of people they live with and that they have positive feelings for them… It means they have ‘preferred people’, and I think that’s love.”
It’s even in their saliva!
In another study by the University of Otago, researchers observed the physiological responses of dogs and humans when exposed to the sound of a crying infant.
Through collecting saliva samples, researchers found that both humans and dogs produced increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol when they heard the crying baby - demonstrating a level of empathy that crosses the boundary of species.
But if you want to fully experience the love of a dog, you need one in your life! Start the search for love right here at PetRescue.