Animal Emotions

Do animals think and feel?

Is This Dog Really Trying to Save the Fish Out of Water?

A video of a dog trying to place water on fish raises many interesting questions

Once again, I'm thankful to many people for sending me a link to a recent video called "Dog Tries To Save Fish Out Of Water", that shows a dog trying to place water over grounded fish. While some of the people were certain this is what the dog was trying to do—the dog acts with clear intention to sweep water on the fish by using his muzzle as a shovel or scoop—others weren't sure.

I've viewed the video a number of times, and while I'm not 100 percent certain this is what the dog is trying to do, I really can't think of any other reason for doing what the dog is doing unless this is a misguided attempt at burying (caching) the fish, perhaps for later consumption. I've lived with two dogs who often tried to bury bones in the corner of a carpeted room to the point of skinning their noses bloody without being able to cover the bones. Later, when I went and moved the "buried" bone, the dogs looked surprised that I found it. In this video, the dog goes from fish to fish performing the same watering action, so while the dog might be trying to bury the fish I'm not convinced this is what is happening. 

Find a Therapist

Search for a mental health professional near you.

Odd couples: Cross-species friendships and empathy

Dogs and fish are known to form close friendships (see also). I've written about a dog named Chino, a golden retriever who lived with Mary and Dan Heath in Medford, Oregon, and Falstaff, a 15-inch koi, who had regular meetings for six years at the edge of the pond where Falstaff lived. Each day when Chino arrived, Falstaff swam to the surface, greeted him, and nibbled on Chino’s paws. Falstaff did this repeatedly as Chino stared down with a curious and puzzled look on her face. Their close friendship was extraordinary and charming. When the Heaths moved, they went as far as to build a new fishpond so that Falstaff could join them. Cross-species friendships, called odd couples, and empathy, are not all that uncommon.

So, I frankly am not sure what is going through the dog's head and heart and this video is a great catalyst for getting readers involved in the discussion. If you comment, please know that anonymous (and personal) comments will not be posted. 

The photo of Chino and Falstaff, by Bob Pennell, can be seen here

The teaser image can be seen here

Marc Bekoff's latest books are Jasper's story: Saving moon bears (with Jill Robinson; see also), Ignoring nature no more: The case for compassionate conservation (see also)and Why dogs hump and bees get depressed (see also). Rewilding our hearts: Building pathways of compassion and coexistence will be published fall 2014. (marcbekoff.com@MarcBekoff

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

Just Say It

When and how should we open up to loved ones?