A therapist friend was making a point about the ability of pets to sense the emotional stance of their human partners and provide support … and it struck me that this is probably the least surprising thing about dogs and cats. I commented on Facebook:
Pets, dogs especially, from an evolutionary perspective, owe their existence to their ability to read us better than we can read ourselves. If only dogs could talk (and we listened), it might be a very different world. Not sure what it says about me that I’m not a pet person.
Ever since that moment 20,000 years ago, when dogs threw their lot in with a shaggy hominid, it’s been the two of us against the world. And it’s worked out great — for dogs. How else would these little mongrels live high on the hog, ensconced in fine digs and women’s purses, at the right hip of the planet’s preeminent species, with none of the emotional and intellectual baggage of having to solve the ecological and existential conundrums that haunt humans? They filled the psychosocial/evolutionary niche of therapist before people knew it existed, and generally at a steep discount to their human counterparts.
Well played, dog.