June 30, 2013 Updated: June 30, 2013 at 1:15 pm
In the 15,000 years since the first hunter-gatherer persuaded the first canine to fetch a mastodon bone, our relationship with dogs has evolved into something almost, make that exactly, filial.
Now, new research from Austria proves the feelings are mutual. The study, by researchers at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna, found that the attachment a dog forms with its owner is remarkably similar to the bond a child has to a parent.
"One of the things that really surprised us is that adult dogs behave towards their caregivers like human children do," Lisa Horn, of the university's Messerli Research Institute, said in a news release. "It will be really interesting to try to find out how this behavior evolved in the dogs."
For a quick, not-very-scientific answer, we suggest researchers take a look through our Dog Days of Summer photo gallery. You'll find Sonora, who first thing in the morning trolls the house to collect all of her toys. And Han Solo, who loves to watch Star Wars with his mom. You'll find dogs in sunglasses, hats and firefighter outfits; dogs "driving" and sipping milkshakes; and lots of dogs napping with their parents and siblings. As dog lovers ourselves, we did not relish the task of choosing a winner from among the more than 100 entries submitted online and via email. The photo of 10-week-old Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy Dash looking quizzically at the camera was the shot that dialed our Awwww Meters to 11, though. Dash's mom, Alysse Seligman, wins a $100 gift card to PetSmart.
"I think the best story about Dash as a puppy is how HE decided we were his family and not the other way around. Dash (then only known as puppy number 8) went right up to Sadie (my 41/2 year old Rhodesian Ridgeback), ignoring her low growls, and put his nose right up against hers and wagged his tail," Seligman wrote about her pure-bred pooch, an "old soul" who turned 2 in April. "Dash then sauntered over to my friend and immediately fell asleep in her lap. Unfortunately I don't have a photo of that moment. But I remember vividly - Dash chose us!"
Contact Stephanie Earls: 636-0364