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Dogs and "empathy"

2384 Views 32 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  XansArt
I'm not sure this will make any sense, but I will try to explain what I mean....

We lost our oldest, most awesome cat Thomas this morning. It was very sudden (heart failure due to a heart murmur we think), we got up to find him dead and of course we were very upset.

I realised I was unable to go and move him, so hubby called his dad to come and wrap him and move him. While we were waiting I decided I should at least clean up the urine around him. Pixie still hadnt' been out to pee, and despite me walking from the kitchen with paper towards the door to the backyard, she didn't follow me as usual to go outside. She just sat in the kitchen and watched me clean up. She didn't go over to sniff Thomas or anything. It was like she knew I was upset and she knew Thomas was dead and just kept her distance. On walks she always approaches dead animals.

So I did that, then went to my office to let Obi out of the crate to take them both out to pee. As soon as Obi spotted Thomas he ran straight up to him and started sniffing, he was told to leave it and we went outside.

Later on I also noticed that Pixie was staring at me a lot more than usual and seemed to understand that I was upset, while Obi seemed completely oblivious.

Pixie is a poodle x maltese, so typical lapdog, people oriented etc, while Obi is a terrier x. So just curious, and this is where I think I won't make sense, are lapdogs and the typical working breeds like poodles, labs, GSD's etc, more in tune with their humans than the more independent breeds? Like are they more sensitive to it, do they understand human stuff better? I hate to call it "empathy", but if I was going to use that word, do the working breeds and lapdogs have more empathy?

Just for the record, I'm not upset with Obi for not "caring", I never expected them to understand or care and I don't need them to. It was just something I noticed and was curious about.
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I'm very sorry for you loss, he looks like a very handsome boy.

As others have said, don't know if it's more of an individual dog thing or what, but Luke is a golden/lab mix and he is so in tune to my emotions. Good, bad, sad, mad, it's like he always know what I'm feeling and how to respond. He is very attentive to me no matter where we are or what we are doing. Zoey, on the other hand, it a houndish something mix, and so self-involved lol. "Oh you're sad, nothing in that for me, I'll just chew my bone." She's a no nonsense type girl, if it isn't benefiting her, she's not very interested. She also isn't too big into people though either. She will greet someone new, say hello for about 10 seconds then go on her merry way with whatever. Luke will sit basking in attention for hours if you let him!
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