I once read in an article that “affectionate love is a human trait, not a canine trait,” which the writer further supports by saying that treating dogs like human is a moral mistake. I get the writer’s point on how animals have a different thought process than humans so we should not disregard the fact that no matter how adorable they are, they are still animals, deliberately in existence not only for humans but more importantly for their own pack. Dogs are innately accustomed with primal instinct and dependence, but they do not have a lucid understanding of the concept of love, as understood by humans. The writer went on to explain that dogs look up to they owners as the leader of the pack, who sets the rules and that dogs do not premeditate. It simply means that no matter how strong your relationship with your dogs is—you may be affectionate with each other or play often—they still live by the present and always has a green signal on their instinct.
I agree to the writer’s concept of primal instinct innate to dogs, because based on a personal experience, my sister raised her 5-year-old rottweiler since he was 2 months old and I could see they have a harmonious dog-owner relationship but in one instance when my sister was already buzzed from drinking with friends and she fondly cuddled her dog, her face so close to his face, she was bitten on the nose. She had an open wound that kept bleeding so she was rushed to the hospital. You see, I was there when it happened. After that split-second attack, it seemed that her dog noticed something was wrong that he immediately hid under the table while everyone was in commotion. Perhaps what seemed only a gentle petting of a drunken person was already a threat to an animal. There goes the instinct situation. But, I do not agree with the writer’s claim that dogs know nothing about love, but only gratitude as a response to being fed, sheltered, and given attention to.
I believe that Hachiko’s real-life story is enough evidence to prove and answer do dogs really love their owners. They may not know the word “love” per se, but every time they greet you when you walk in the door from work, or the way they cuddle with you in bed when you feel down—these are their simple ways to show you their loyalty. Each dog owner has a unique relationship with his or her dog, which no one but only the two of them can appreciate. They may be aggressive under inevitable circumstances, but when you are truly a dog lover, you’ll know when your dog feels sorry for the mistake and when your dog makes you feel its appreciation and “love.”