Most animal lovers are fully aware that animals have feelings and show emotions. Unfortunately for animals, a good portion of the world does not agree. In law, domestic animals are seen as property. Yet, human children are not. The phrases “it's just a dog” and “it's just a cat” are common words almost every animal lover has heard at one time or another from ignorant or uneducated individuals.
Though many a pet guardian can attest to the range of emotions their pet feels, science has finally gotten on board to back up what so many animal lovers have been saying for years: dogs are people, too.
A study conducted by Professor Gregory Berns, a neuroscientist from Emory University, found that dogs experience emotions similar to us humans, proving this via MRI scans. The study spanned six weeks, with three sessions. The dogs were trained by way of positive methods and were free to come and go as they pleased. This freedom allowed for truer results as the dogs were not coerced or forced to partake in the study.
The resulting research discovered that a dogs brain has similar activity in the caudate nucleus. What does this mean? Researchers state that dogs have “a level of sentience comparable to that of a human child.” (Sentience: the ability to feel, perceive or experience subjectivity. - Wikipedia)
The implications of this finding are astronomical. If dogs have the brain activity of a small child, can feel emotions like love, loss, attachment, abandonment, happiness and sadness, how can they be viewed as property?
If thousands of animal lovers are having trouble toughening the laws for animal rights, perhaps scientific proof will be the driving force to catapult dogs to human status.