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I'm not sure what prompted me to open this story in Huffington Post, or what made me watch the video, or what's making me write about it now, other that it gives me this odd sense that we, as living creatures in this world, are all connected.

For a dog to come upon a little dead puppy and feel the need to bury the pup, completely; why? What was the dog trying to say? Was it trying to trying to somehow protect the puppy? Or was this some way of mourning for, or dignifying, another animal - one of its own?  I'm not sure. I am sure it warmed my heart, and these are the things I want to see and feel in my life as I plow through some of the grime. These are the things that remind me of my own minuteness, and replenish my desire to seek the understanding of what love is - and what life is, as I carry on.

After the dog walked away, as if to say, "My work here is done," I could have done without the ending. The first two minutes are all one needs to 'get it'.  

 

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Added: PBS Excerpt - The Emotional Lives Of Animals

Originally posted to Leslie Salzillo on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 10:18 PM PDT.

Also republished by PWB Peeps.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I saw this, too. Heartbreaking and poignant (6+ / 0-)

    life affirming in ways that are hard to put my finger on -- much as you're saying above. Pretty amazing, though, to see something like that. Thanks for posting it here. I hope lots of people take a look.

    One thing is does for me is yet again remind me that the emotional lives of animals are far more complex and deep than many of us would ever have imagined -- something which is increasingly being backed up by science.

    "Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by Kombema on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 10:37:15 PM PDT

  •  Dogs often bury things they value, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrsgoo, Leslie Salzillo, whaddaya

    Including treats, food, toys, and bones to gnaw on later. The intent is to prevent others from messing with thir treasured things.

    This is a behavior that seems to be passed down from wolf ancestors ( still evident in their lupine cousins), which we call caching. They bury food to protect it from scavengers.

    Without knowing anything about this little dog, it's hard to draw any conclusions. I'm not saying he's saving the pup  to come back for a future meal. The dog  doesn't look thin enough to me.

    I think this is a great video, and I appreciate your posting it. But without knowing anything about the dogs that appear in it, I'm very hesitant to jump to any conclusions about love or giving dignity. Those seem to be anthropomorphism very  likely.

    I personally have never seen any instincts toward ritualized mourning behavior in domestic dogs (although I do know they miss cohorts who leave them, especially if they leave abruptly)  nor have I heard of any. So I'm not going to conclude this little guy is giving his dead "friend" a final resting place, as humans understand it -- even if it looks that way to us.

    He had his own very canine reasons for burying the other dog.

    But it's lovely for us human observers that he did.

    © grover


    So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

    by grover on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 11:22:21 PM PDT

    •  Oh dang, Grover. Can I have my moment please? (8+ / 0-)

      I understand what you're saying, and you may have a point.  I'm 'choosing' to believe the dog was acting  out of emotion. Check out the pbs video which links to a study and more stories.

      I have a cat who now lives with my brother and his wife as I couldn't take her when I moved. Her name is 'Wittle.' My daughter brought her in one day, skinny, flea-bitten and just as lovable as all get out. I've heard that cats don't get 'lost,' but I think she may have strayed too far from home. Or maybe her owner passed away, I don't know, but we took her in and named her Wittle because she was so 'wittle and had ears wike a wabbit!

      After bringing her to the vet to get her all fixed up, the vet later told us she was pregnant and that having the litter would kill her. The vet also said the shots they gave her before realizing she was pregnant, would most likely cause her litter to be born dead. So Wittle had an abortion and when she came home, we loved her into recovery.

      What happened soon after was fascinating. I gave her some toys and one was this little stuffed doll figurine. She took to it, like her own kitten. She would bring with her almost everywhere, put it on her food and in her water to feed it, she would clean it as a cat would clean a kitten, and she would sleep with it. I've never seen a cat do anything like that before. She was obviously caring for it as she would her own kitten. Or perhaps grieving the litter of kittens she lost.

      Here's where my heart really melted. When Wittle has other priorities, she would bring the doll to me, as if to say, "Here, Leslie, watch her for me, please, while I take care of some things." ...

      I don't know what that 'really' means, scientifically. I do know how it makes me feel as a human being. And I'm smiling right now. Call me a fool. Call me a romantic. I think animals have much more emotions than most realize.

      "In this world, hate has never yet dispelled hate. Only love can dispel hate." ~ Buddha

      by Leslie Salzillo on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 12:31:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh Leslie! (3+ / 0-)

        I thought a while about posting because I didn't want to be a parade-rainer-onner!

        But I know you like interesting discussions in your diaries too, so I didn't want to just post "how sweet..."

        I absolutely believe that dogs have deeply felt emotions. When one of my dogs die, I bring the rest of the pack in (usually individually) so they know their pal is gone. I've seen dogs search and search for a friend who just "left" (to be euthanized) never to return.  It's agony for them.

        So my kids walk in. I sit on the floor next to the dead dog. The living one is free to do as he pleases. Usually, he'll stand for a second, approach and sniff for 30-60 seconds, then turn and walk away.

        When one of my dogs died, her partner of 16 years walked into the room , stopped, climbed into my lap and trembled. I told her it was ok to approach her dead cohort, but she had no need. After about two minutes, she stood and walked out of the room, only glancing back somewhat anxiously to make sure I was following.

        But afterward, while my dogs missed their closest playmates, I never saw any ritualized mourning behaviors.

        Dogs love, yes. But they don't express their love like humans do.

        I honestly feel the best way to honor dogs and the depth of what they feel and their cognitive capacities is to honor them as dogs, not try to remake them in our image.

        © grover


        So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

        by grover on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 01:24:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  What you describe in your kitty sounds a lot like (4+ / 0-)

          A symptom of what we call false pregnancy in dogs (I presume cars can experience it too, but I'm not super knowledgeable when it comes to cats):
          http://www.buzzle.com/...

          It seems to me what she was experiencing is all the leftover hormones of being pregnant.  Does that mean she would only "love" her kittens (had she had them)  because of hormones?

          Well, oxytocin is a hormone :

          Oxytocin plays roles in sexual reproduction, in particular during and after childbirth. It is released in large amounts after distension of the cervix and uterus during labor, facilitating birth, maternal bonding, and, after stimulation of the nipples, breastfeeding. Both childbirth and milk ejection result from positive feedback mechanisms.[1]

          Recent studies have begun to investigate oxytocin's role in various behaviors, including orgasm, social recognition, pair bonding, anxiety, and maternal behaviors.[2] For this reason, it is sometimes referred to as the "love hormone". There is some evidence that oxytocin promotes ethnocentric behavior, incorporating the trust and empathy of in-groups with their suspicion and rejection of outsiders.

          http://en.m.wikipedia.org/...

          So how much of love is love (that is, that wonderful thing that our psyche creates) and how much is actually literally the result of hormones?

          Does it matter?  Research has shown that if our dog simply LOOKS at us, our level of oxytocin rises. We feel better. We feel bonded.

          We feel loved.

          We think they love us. And given what we feel, it seems they do.

          © grover


          So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

          by grover on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 01:44:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Wonderful, Grover. You made up for it 10 fold. :) (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            whaddaya, ladybug53, grover

            Thank you for those stories about your sweet dogs. Reading ti was like a beautiful sadness. I've heard about false pregnancy, and never witnessed it before.

            This is an odd diary, I know... And that's what I love about Daily Kos. We are free to share our thoughts here about most anything. It need not be in news form or political liberalism, which I do love.  Some days it feels good to soak in other aspects of life.. Switching and shaking it up keeps me motivated. I've enjoyed getting to know you.

            "In this world, hate has never yet dispelled hate. Only love can dispel hate." ~ Buddha

            by Leslie Salzillo on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 04:28:44 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  We can not know the reason but ahhh.... that (5+ / 0-)

    was really something. Thanks for sharing.

    if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

    by mrsgoo on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 11:41:48 PM PDT

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