Researchers reveal losing a dog can be as hard as losing a loved one

Pets play a major part in human’s life, especially dogs. With their little paws, their light smile, and adorableness they never seize to let you down. Anytime you are feeling down, they tend to make your day ten times better.

And, if the question of whether to save people’s or dog’s life would arise, who would you choose? Well, believe it or not, the above question was actually the aim of studies and many research has been done upon that. Curious about the answer of people? It turns out that most of the people in the study have answered that they would opt for the dog’s life over the human’s.

People are more prone to empathize with animals between the news of animals suffering or people suffering.


The research we are talking about was conducted by the sociologists and anthropologists from Northeastern University and the University of Colorado and they are very interested in what the reason behind this is.

256 participants who were college students participated in the study. The participants were given different stories about humans and dogs which weren’t treated well. They were required to express their feelings and empathy towards those two groups. Most of the students chose dogs.

They came to the conclusion that empathy towards dogs conquered. “We also found more empathy for human children, puppies, and fully-grown dogs than for adult humans. Age makes a difference for empathy toward human victims, but not for dog victims.” 

While, another similar study which was conducted by a British charity asked people to donate funds as a part of a fundraising campaign. In this study, two different versions of the same story were used. This is how the text read: “Would you give £5 to save Harrison from a slow, painful suffering?” They used two different pictures. That of Harrison diagnosed with Duchenneand and the other featured a dog.

As surprising as it may be, the charity donation website featuring the dog attracted twice as many clicks compared to the one with the boy. The numbers were 230, compared to 111.

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This is what the researchers said as a conclusion:

“It may be that many people appraise dogs as vulnerable, regardless of their age, when compared to adult humans. In other words, dogs, whether young or adult, are seen as possessing many of the same qualities associated with human babies; they are seen as unable to fully protect themselves, compared to adult humans.”

Psychotherapist Justin Lioi said, “We are more able to empathize with someone whom we deem to have little blame for their circumstances.” Going on, “Dogs and babies are the definition of didn’t-ask-for-this and we are more likely to rush to support them.”

People who have a really close relationship with dogs were not surprised by the results. “Dogs provide unconditional love and many times people form stronger bonds with their pet than with another human,” Russel Hartstein, a dog trainer said. He also added that his clients treat their dogs just the same

as they treat or will treat their children saying, “From going to school for behavior and training, health, nutrition, wellness, enrichment and play, people form very close intimate bonds with their best friends.”

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