PUPPY LOVE IS THE BEST LOVE.
The little white girl above is a volunteer at an animal shelter, helping to put out food for the dogs. Her reward is obvious from the photo–a heaping helping of puppy love.
So why do little girls volunteer to help man’s best friend? Science knows.
It seems humans are more moved by the suffering of dogs than people, according to a study.
In new research, scientists described a report about an attack ‘with a baseball bat by an unknown assailant’ and each time the victim changed.
The study found we are moved the most by the suffering of puppies and children, but battered dogs elicited more empathy than abused humans.
Scientists say this may be because animals are more helpless than humans and less able to defend themselves.
Professor Jack Levin and Professor Arnold Arluke, from Northeastern University in Boston examined the opinions of 240 people who received one of four fictional news articles.
‘Arriving on the scene a few minutes after the attack, a police officer found the victim with one broken leg, multiple lacerations, and unconscious. No arrests have been made in the case’, the police report read.
In each example the victim changed.
One concerned the beating of a one-year-old child and a second an adult in his 30s.
The other two were about a puppy or a six-year-old dog being abused.
The difference in empathy between child and puppy was ‘statistically non-significant’, but the dog garnered more feeling than the adult, researchers found.
‘Respondents were significantly less distressed when adult humans were victimised’, researchers wrote.
The findings suggest people really do see their dogs as members of the family.
This research is backed up by a 2015 charity campaign.
The campaign asked; ‘Would you give £5 to save Harrison from a slow, painful death?’, in one version Harrison was a human and in the other he was a dog.
The pooch version of the advert attracted significantly more attention – suggesting we really do find it easier to empathise with our four-legged friends.
Professor Levin told the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association: ‘The fact adult human crime victims receive less empathy than do child, puppy, and full-grown dog victims suggests adult dogs are regarded as dependent and vulnerable not unlike their younger canine counterparts and kids.
‘In addition, it appears that adult humans are viewed as capable of protecting themselves while full-grown dogs are just seen as larger puppies.’
Professor Levin reckoned findings would be similar for cats.
He said: ‘These are animals to which many individuals attribute human characteristics.’
The experiment also showed that our levels of empathy are related to how helpless the victim is, writes The Times.
Adults getting beaten up might make us less sympathetic because we tend to partly blame the victim in such attacks.
I speculate that women human victims receive more sympathy than male victims. I also speculate that white female victims receive more sympathy than black ones.
I don’t have to speculate about dogs. A little short-legged mixed breed fellow strains at the leash to greet me every time he sees me. I’ve never given him so much as a bite of food but he relishes my head pats and friendly words of greeting. His enthusiasm is one reason why we love dogs.