One man’s dog watched him sleep every night, and the animal’s strange behavior disturbed him. As a result, the concerned owner set out to get to the bottom of his pet’s actions. Little did he know, however, that the truth would break his heart.
When one Chinese man decided to get a pet dog, he thought that rescuing one from a shelter would be the best option. Although he realized that these animals often came with emotional baggage, he knew that he could give one a second chance.
At the shelter, moreover, the man set his heart upon an abandoned golden retriever. And as soon as he took the dog home, he knew that he’d made the right choice. The pooch was the ideal pet, in fact – obedient and as friendly as can be.
What’s more, before long the golden retriever had become an invaluable part of the man’s household. All his family members loved the animal, too, and so therefore it seemed at first that the adoption had been a complete success. But then the man noticed something unnerving about the dog.
The responsible man had fitted his bedroom door with a gate, preventing the dog from entering. Every night, however, when his owners went to sleep, the animal would wait at said gate. And instead of drifting off to sleep, he’d simply watch them all night.
At first, the man put the dog’s strange behavior down to the fact that he was in unfamiliar surroundings. Perhaps it was just teething problems while he settled into the family. If that was the case, his owner hoped that, in time, the pet would relax into a sleeping routine, putting an end to his strange actions.
However, the dog continued to watch them sleep for nights on end. As a result, his owner grew concerned that something was wrong with the canine. So, understandably, he did everything he could to put an end to the behavior.
Initially, he thought that perhaps the animal simply wasn’t tired enough to fall asleep, so he went on to play with him constantly throughout the day to wear him out. The dog, however, still continued to watch him sleeping.
At this point, the owner grew worried that something was amiss with the dog’s health. He consequently took him to a nearby veterinary clinic for a checkup. The vet informed him, however, that the pooch’s physical condition was in good order.
But although the vet’s diagnosis was heartening, it only left the dog’s owner feeling even more confused. If everything was fine with the animal physically, then why did he refuse to sleep? And the man remained just as determined to get to the bottom of the mystery.
Consequently, he returned to the animal shelter to see if the staff could shed any light on his dog’s behavior. And it turned out that they could. Unfortunately, though, that revelation would prove to be a devastating one.
According to shelter staff, the golden retriever’s previous owner had abandoned the dog when his wife became pregnant. He thought that the responsibilities that went with both keeping a dog and raising a baby would be too much for them to handle. Heartbreakingly, he therefore took the dog to the shelter.
But the former owner couldn’t bear seeing his dog’s face as he walked away forever. As a result, the man waited for the animal to fall asleep before transporting him to the shelter. And when the dog awoke, he would have discovered himself in a strange place without his family.
Upon hearing this information for the first time, the animal’s new owner realized why he acted so strangely. The heartbroken dog was having a hard time trusting humans again. And he didn’t dare rest, in case his new family also decided to dump him in his sleep.
Thinking about the ordeal that his dog had been through reduced the man to tears, in fact. And when he returned home later that day, he removed the gate from his bedroom door. From now on, the dog could sleep in the same room as him.
The owner hoped that this simple gesture would help to build up the animal’s trust in humans once more. And the man also wanted other pet owners to learn from his experiences, so he shared his story online.
Before long, moreover, the post went viral, with the golden retriever’s experience touching many hearts. And for many, the story was evidence that dogs do experience emotions. This remains a contentious issue within scientific circles, however.
It’s true that dogs have the same brain structures and hormonal make-up responsible for emotions in humans. They even produce oxytocin – the hormone responsible for creating the sensation of love. As a result, many people believe that dogs experience feelings just like humans do.
Nonetheless, scientists are keen not to overstate the range of emotions that dogs can feel. Since it’s widely agreed that most dogs have the same mental capacity as an average toddler, it’s said that the animals probably share similar emotional experiences to their young human counterparts. These are, naturally, much more limited in scope than those of adult humans.
As a result, some researchers have concluded that dogs can feel simple emotions such as joy, anger and fear. So, it’s perfectly plausible that this golden retriever would feel scared about being abandoned again. But thankfully for him, dogs can also feel love – and hopefully that will be his overriding emotion in the future.