Animal Emotions

Do animals think and feel?

A Dog and His Man

Watch this video if you want a clear answer about animal emotions.

Please watch this video of a dog greeting a soldier after being apart for six months and listen to the dog express his feelings about this reunion. There are countless examples of nonhuman animal (animal) love and what happens during this reunion ranks among the best of them. And, despite these stories and solid scientific data about love and the deep and rich emotional lives of other animals, some still wonder if other animals feel love. I wonder what the few remaining skeptics would say about this heartwarming reunion. Some might say it's "love" but they're wrong. It's love with no quotes. 

It's bad science to rob other animals of their feelings

As I've written on many other occasions, it's not being anthropomorphic to attribute emotions to other animals. In fact, it's bad science not to do so because we're not inserting something "uniquely human" into animals. Instead, we're identifying commonalities and then using human language to communicate what we observe. Good old Darwinian evolutionary continuity tells us this surely is the case.

Find a Therapist

Search for a mental health professional near you.

We are not the only animals who have deep and rich emotional lives and memories of things past. The sooner we incorporate these facts into our science and into the numerous ways in which we interact with other animals, the sooner we'll have a deeper appreciation of who these other beings are and what they want, need, and deserve from us. 

The teaser image can be seen here

 

Marc Bekoff, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

more...

Subscribe to Animal Emotions

Current Issue

Let It Go!

It can take a radical reboot to get past old hurts and injustices.