It is a well-known fact that dogs will do anything to help their humans when we are in distress. There are many stories of adults and babies being saved from death by dogs, and they show tremendous courage when they are in these situations.
And this courage may be foolhardy to our human brains as we analyse too much, but all a dog sees is that there is a human in trouble and it will do anything to help. It is an instinctive and natural reaction, and they appear precisely when you most need them.
It is possible to test this yourself on your dog. If you cry in pain or start to cry real tears see how long it is before your dog comes over to see if you need help. There was a recent study done at the Johns Hopkins University, and they pretended to be locked behind a magnetically locked door that the dog could by pushing it. When the person behind the door cried for help, the dogs responded and ran over to the door open. When they just hummed a tune, the owners hardly generated a response.
A clinical test of dog and human empathy
This test although not done with a lot of dogs, only 34 of them, it was enough to confirm over and over again that all these different dogs responded in the same way. This experiment is the first time that this empathy between dogs and humans had been clinically tested. Mostly the dogs reacted about three times faster when the person behind the door seemed to be in trouble compared to when they just hummed a tune.
This study shows that there is a lot of truth behind all the stories about humans being saved by dogs. And it is not always the owners of the dogs that are helped. Dogs also have empathy for any human suffering.
Another widely reported incident was when a Corgi called Cora was at an airport, and she suddenly walked away from her owner and went over to a man sitting nearby. It turned out that the man was grieving the loss of his dog the night before. Cora sensed this grief and went over to comfort the stranger.
And it is not only dogs that have this empathy. There are dog and cat therapy animals that are taken into hospitals and care homes to comfort the patients living there, and these patients are helped a lot.
There is also a report of a horse that does the same thing. When the horse is taken into the hospital, it walks along the corridor, and it chooses the door it wants to go through, and always it is someone in there who desperately needs to be comforted which is precisely what the horse does.
All this shows how powerful the connections are between humans and animals. Dogs, in particular, have been living with humans for many thousands of years, and each has helped each other to live and grow in harmony, and this bond will always be there.