Us dogs feel emotions too.

Here is a little tail by someone else!

A golden retriever chases his tail every morning for hours on end then compulsively licks his paws till they’re bare and oozy (just like mine – KoKo reveals). Human medication calms him down and he stops injuring himself.… or …. a neighbour’s tabby cat may claim friendship and follow him around the house bringing him some calm.

Humans project their own views on how us doggies are feeling. The label owners give us reflects their beliefs aboutan  animal’s capacity for emotional expression. Where earlier generations may have seen madness, homesickness and heartbreak, veterinarians  now diagnose anxiety, impulse control and obsessive-compulsive disorders.

Here are five classic examples of animal insanity -diagnosed by a crazy human:

1. Heartbreak
In the past broken heartedness was considered a potentially lethal medical problem that affected both humans and other animals alike. In 1937, a German shepherd named Teddy stopped eating when his horse companion died, staying in the horse’s stall for three days until he died himself. Red dog from the Pilbara in North Western Australia pined for many months when his owner died suddenly. A Japanese dog Hachikō walked though severe weather conditinos every evening to meet his owner who was never coming home again. Animals do feel loss and don’t forget someone who loved them.

2. OCD
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is now a common diagnosis in humans and animals. These behaviors may actually be healthy activities gone awry. Dogs can develop paw-washing habits so extreme as to keep them from playing or going on walks. Other behaviors, like rituals, can also be seen in animals, as for instance a dog that barks every time he hears a skateboard.

3. Phobias
Some animals develop specific fears of things in their environment, such as escalators, a truck braking, or  a toaster oven beep. Thankfully, people and other animals can learn to overcome their phobias with a mixture of behavior therapy, training, time, and anti-anxiety medication.

This is KoKo fearing a BATH!

Photo by ©Helen Potter Furry Friends Fotos

Modified from Laurel Braitman’s book, Animal Madness: How Anxious Dogs, Compulsive Parrots and Elephants in Recovery Help Us Understand Ourselves

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