Interview answers

Going through all the answers from my interviews:

Penny:

‘Gino is extremest intelligent and understands that good behaviour is rewarded. He is responsive to treats and sign language. Mia shows more emotional intelligence as she is moody when she hasn’t seen someone for a while or feels ignored. She does this by turning her back and walking away *1). Nelly is overly excited whenever I’m around, she follows me everywhere even to the toilet! Nelly has to sit on top of me when she’s not getting attention. I believe that having a dog has made me realise how an animal can show unconditional love. All animals are sentient beings and do experience depression, anxiety, love etc. My feelings are a lot stronger now than ever, thanks to all three of my dogs!

  1. This will be a good thing to include as im sure a lot of dog owners can relate to tis funny occurrence that many dogs do – show annoyance or bad moods to their owners after being left alone **Can link this to the study I found in ‘The genius of dogs’ book**
  2. A fantastic bit of text to include which truly is in line with one of the aims of my book and shows just how incredible the influence dogs can have on your life.

Carol:

‘Signs of emotional intelligence.

My dog shows what I consider to be empathy when for example I am ill. She comes to me and settles down with me. If I look a little distressed and make eye contact with her she will come toward me and lick me.

When we are out walking and she is called to come to me across a field, she runs full pelt at me with her teeth showing, mouth in a grin, clearly very happy to play this game.  She will then run off and turn toward me often, waiting for me to summon her again. It is clearly more than just recall training, because she is showing signs of anticipation and real pleasure once we are participating in this way. She is clearly demonstrating happiness.

She also shows signs of worry if she thinks I am being threatened. She is very guarded, particularly if tall men come into our space, in this she discerns from others. She looks to me and to the possible figure of threat frequently and puts herself between us. Her hackles rise and she will bark and wimper alternately.

Above all I am sure that we are connected on a deep emotional level, although this in a very different way from the emotional bonds I have with people. I have no idea how she thinks, whether she actually has thoughts or not, but we make a lot of eye contact, and she has a wise range of different facial expressions, albeit subtle in their differences.

It has been owning a dog that has really enriched my sense of understanding of animals. I no longer hold the view that animals are simply ‘trained’ to do what we humans want. I believe that they show preparedness to adapt and co operate with us. They are worth observing and understanding in order to afford them respect.

My last dog, with whom I had very strong emotional ties, also showed signs of depression when she was 17 years old and failing. I have observed this in other dogs and indeed in horses. They undoubtedly ‘feel’ and may even think, although it is hard to imagine anything outside of our own human consciousness…but such is the homo-centred thinking that dominates our relationship with animals. 1)*

I remember reading about some research in the Times a few years back. It declared that scientists had proved that when dogs make those little suppressed tiny woofs , they are actually laughing. 2)* 

Carol Ann Jones April 2019.’

1)*This paragraph from carol will work very well with my theme of wanting to draw upon how humans see all animals not just dogs***

2)* I could either look this research up for myself or include it as a part of Carols section in the book as a form of ‘back up’ of my points.

Megan:

‘Does your dog or has your dog ever shown any behaviour which you think is a sign of a high emotional intelligence?
He is jealous and doesn’t like it if I make a fuss of another dog. He will bark at them. We think he smiles sometimes, especially when all the family is round. 1)*

Could you give me an example of your emotional bond between your dog and you?
The ridiculous greeting he does when I’ve been out whether it’s all day or just been upstairs for 5 minutes. He never strays far when we are out walking, always checking to see where I am. We do agility and he will stay attentive to me and follow my actions for hours at a time. He will work for me at agility or general obedience just to be with me and for the praise.

Do you think having a dog and creating an emotional bond with them has made you change your views on the emotions of all animals?
Not all animals no, but the more time I spend with my dog and other dogs and owners I realise dogs do have very special bonds that I don’t see in other animals.

Do you think your feelings about animals in general have changed from before you had a dog?
Don’t think I have changed as I had dogs and other animals growing up, but my husband has only ever owned cats before so it’s definitely changed him as cats don’t have the same kind of attachment’ 2)*

1)* Something a lot of dogs owners can probably relate to, and something most find quite amusing. Jealousy is quite a complex emotion and almost all dog owners say they see it in they dogs -RESEARCH ON JEALOUSY IN DOGS

2)* An interesting view point – Dogs opening people up to animal emotions, more than other animals would eg a cat

Jess

‘I feel all three of the dogs I’ve owned all show an emotional intelligence but they display it in different ways for example my old dog Dexter would tilt his head when you spoke to try and understand what you were saying. He would also stay by your side if you were sad or crying and would sometimes cry too. 1)*

My chihuahua Diego and I have a true emotional bond. He never leaves my side. When ever I’m out and due to be home my mum says both my dogs wait at the window crying and then within minutes I get back, I feel this is very intelligent behaviour and very intuitive. 2)*

I feel because I’ve got a strong bond with my dogs, I believe you can have that with any animal you spend time with and gain the trust of, however I do believe it’s more apparent with dogs as they tend to bond with people much quicker. I’ve always been an animal lover but I didn’t realise how important the relationship between people and their animals was so strong and emotionally touching before having a dog my self.

Loosing my last dog Dexter really did break my heart and I felt like a part of me disappeared. I can’t imagine life without a dog now, they give you so much love, joy and happiness and they are so in tune with our emotions .

1)* Again the topic of dogs displaying empathy when their owners are distressed has arisen – I can include these and RESEARCH EMPATHY FROM DOGS TO OWNERS

2)* A perfect back up for my research from the book ‘Dogs that know when their owners are coming home’

3)* This part of the answer is perfect for the message that I want to reach the audience. Jess has mentioned here how the dogs she has had have opened her eyes to the emotional bonds between humans and animals in general

Elaine

‘With Rocky if I nip to the toilet he will sit and wait for me outside, and he will know when I’m coming home if he hears my car. He also gives me emotional blackmail to make me take him for a walk, he will sit there and pester me with his eyes and then walk to the door. They will know the time of the day and are intelligent to say to you they want their food now 1)* If im feeling low or if im scared they’re always there, Rocky is jumping on me licking me all over. Rocky is very in tuned to my feelings, because I’ve had him from when he was born so he has only known me. He will put his head on your neck and rest it there, and I can feel a very deep emotion coming from him, like a connection saying ‘its going to be alright mum. It’s a very deep emotion you get from him, very soulful 2)*. We call it Rocky-love, because when he feels like your happy he will do it all over your head and put his paws on your shoulders and you feel as though you are getting a proper hug from him.

I’ve always been a big animal lover but I do feel dogs do make you feel more emotion and more attachment to other animals definitely. Having the emotional attachment to dogs does make you think about all animals 100%’

1)* Another thing which dog owners can relate to – this feeling from dogs you get where you know they are trying to tell you something. They can’t say it with language but you can tell by the way they look at you and communicate through actions

2)* This again ties in with the concept of dogs knowing when you are down – I should definitely research into this and make it a recurring part of the book as it seems most owners touch on this when you ask them the questions

Lorrie

‘Since the age of my birth my parents bought a Labrador and she was the family pet but we had a real connection and used to sleep together front of the fire, she died when I was 15. We’ve had dogs in the last 20 years and always had labradors. Strange things happen but Fen who we had a litter of pups from her, it was tragic out of 9 pups only 4 survived. We kept one of them, flury who died a month before my husband did. We were burying her ashes in the corner of the garden in our dog cemetery where all the puppies and old dogs ashes are. We were putting Flurys ashes there and I said to John ‘isn’t this wonderful we can look back over the house, if anything happens to me would you put my ashes up here?’ to which he replied ‘ what a marvellous idea will you do the same for me’, and then he dies a month later and now Johns ashes are up there with all the dogs and I can go there and reflect, and if I have any questions I need answering I can go up there and ask him and all the doggies. So that’s where they all are. 1)*

Holly was two when John died, and she just followed me round and since then its like she’s my shadow and will always be there no matter what. I’m sure if I died she would be that dog that lies on your grave and never moves 2)*

1)* This is by far the highlight of the interview answers, it is so moving and really touches on just how special dogs are to people and how much emotion they bring to peoples lives. EVEN FURTHER – One of the dogs I photographed of hers died a few days after and she buried her in the cemetery

2)* This could be a very good point of reference to the story of Grayfriars Bobby, a sky terrier who is known for guarding the grave of his owner for 14 years:

Including this story will only heighten the strength of my angle of how emotionally aware dogs are and can create a nice flow for the book.

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