Maybe for those who have never had a pet, it’s hard to understand the death of a dog can affect more than that of a person with whom he had a close and almost daily relationship, or at least comparable to the pain that this kind of grief brings.
Why is this happening? After all, from an evolutionary standpoint, it doesn’t make much sense: we spend time and effort maintaining an emotional connection with a species that is not our own, and when the animal dies, we also sacrifice part of our well-being. his death.
This doubt is perhaps wrongly raised. Having a friendship with a dog doesn’t mean following a profitability strategy in which we take care of the animal to get a product in return. Maybe that’s what would happen if a dog was just that, a dog. But it’s not like that: our companion is much more than a pet.
What makes dogs special
There is something that sets dogs apart from other animals traditionally cared for and domesticated by humans: They took a long time to evolve. In almost every way the domestic dog has turned into the ideal companion, An animal which, although not having the facility to think in the abstract way that we have, is able to change its behavior in the face of the death or prolonged absence of its faithful friend.
How to forget, for example, the case of Hachikō, the Akita dog who spent the last 9 years of his life staying at the train station for which his owner went so as not to return because of his death.
What makes this animal unique, and what makes its loss so painful, is that it spontaneously creates emotional bonds with other species without requiring any special training. In fact, it has been proven that simply staring a dog in the eye for long periods of time this causes your brain to start behaving like the human being who keeps his eyes fixed on his eyes: oxytocin, the hormone of love, begins to be produced in large quantities, and both the human and the the dog coordinate this cycle of hormones.
The evolution of the human best friend
Some biologists and anthropologists, like Brian Hare, believe that the domestic dog evolved from the wolf species to survive alongside our species leaving behind its aggressiveness and territorial character.
The gregarious character of the wolf has been preservedBut in the 10,000-year history that has passed since the goose was first domesticated, these animals began to develop other psychological characteristics that brought them closer to us: they became more curious than reserved, more playful. than hostile, more tolerant of change, and therefore much more likely to learn new things from the hand of another species.
In a way, a human characteristic, the ability to form societies and transform the environment, has served to alter the DNA of part of the wolf population by making these animals find a place first. in the tribes then in civilization.
The Pet Duel
Knowing all of the above allows us to better understand why the death of a dog affects us so much. Basically, because for its spontaneous nature and ignorance of sophisticated social normsBut they have become perfect friends and companions.
They are neither individualistic enough not to react in any way to the human presence or even to avoid it, nor human enough to worry about their social image, to fall into prejudices or stereotypes, or to manipulate in trying to win. . -Be someone’s friendship in exchange for a long-term goal.
When a dog dies, we lose a being who has offered us company totally based on the here and now, in the little moments, and who appreciates all forms of spontaneity without worrying about what others will do. In many ways, dogs allow us to rely on someone’s friendship without having to give up who we are in our private life.
Many other people are likely to misunderstand that pet duels are especially hard in cases where it is a dog that is dead, and in some cases they may secretly think we are acting theatrically. However, it is worth knowing that feeling deep emotional pain is completely normal and legitimate in these cases, and that nothing and no one has the right to question the authenticity at this time.