This week we learnt that when a dog stares lovingly at its human (see the article in Science), it is part of the carefully evolved canine/human bonding process. While wolves avoid eye contact because it’s considered a threat, domesticated dogs purposefully engage in the devoted stare (aka puppy dog eyes), all the better to release oxytocin (the feel good hormone) in themselves and in us, thereby increasing our connection and our mutual feel good factors.
I don’t know if Teddy has read the report, but if he has, he’s ignoring the findings.
He doesn’t stare at me lovingly throughout the day – only when there is food involved. I’m onto him. I posted the photograph, above, on Instagram a couple of weeks ago, which I think proves the point. To the untrained eye this might have resembled the look of love. But I know for a fact that this is the look that says I Want Your Toast. I’m not taking it personally. I’ll take Teddy’s whimpering frenzy when I walk in the door as proof of our bond, along with the sweet fact that while he often sits elsewhere, if I’m feeling low, he will find me and sit as close as he can. And I’ll put this particular canine’s treacle eyes down to his greedy guts and our mutual fondness of toast.