Though us animal owners will alll feel like our animals understand us, I still keep that somewhat aside in my mind, not sure of how these are
communicated. I tend to percieve that most of my animals will pick it up through variations in my touch, the tone of my voice, my heart rate and blood
pressure, the smells of physiological changes.
But I find myself really surprised at the possible evidence that some of them, who have been domesticated and living with humans for a very long time,
can recognize facial expressions. Like dogs. My dog wagging his tail and grinning when he sees me smile, or dropping it and looking worried when I
have a sad face is already interesting- but we have developed a state of empathy, in which he identifies with me, so.... not that wonderous...
But last night, as my dog, Cody, sat next to me on the couch, watching tv (well he usually only watches if dogs come on, or other animals - he likes
animal documentaries..) there were two scenes which piqued his interest.
In one, a man was silently crying, in a close up of his face. Cody jerked up straight, watching intensely and cocking his head right and left, lifting
his ears, until the scene was over.
In the second, a baby was crying. This had the same effect, but magnified. He got very concerned, even jumped down and walked closer to the tv to see
it. He was all alert and even looking nervously back at me for some feedback from time to time.
I thought it was interesting that he recognized a worrisome state in the view of a stranger on the screen - it was purely a visual of a face, and not
one he knew. His brain is able to hold a general idea of facial expressions that can be applied to any human.
My daughter had a baby this year, so he has become aquainted with it and the idea of having a baby as part of our pack, so I guess it might be normal
he reacts now to the sound of a baby crying.
But I still find it fascinating, the way dogs and humans have evolved to be so close!
edit on 2-2-2016 by Bluesma because: (no reason