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If You’re Happy and You Know It

Wagging tails and sparkling eyes sure look like happiness–and help us feel it as well!

A happy dog! Photo courtesy Peggy Frezon.

I’d been out for only a few minutes, buying milk at the convenience store. As I walked up to my front door, the dogs were waiting there, peering through the window. Their whole bodies wiggled in anticipation.

When I opened the door they burst forth and greeted me as if I’d been away for months. Their tails wagged, their eyes sparkled, and they danced around like my arrival was the best thing that’s ever happened to them. I definitely felt like they were happy to see me.

Yet, some say that animals don’t feel happiness. They claim that we are merely anthropomorphizing–assigning human characteristics and feelings to something other than a human.

While I agree that animals aren’t all capable of feeling the entire complex range of emotions that we may give them credit for–for example, a dog looking down at a slipper he’s destroyed probably isn’t feeling guilty. Instead, he senses that his human is upset with him and is reacting to their tone and actions.

But happiness? An animal may not experience happiness in exactly the same as the way we understand the word, but that doesn’t mean he’s not feeling content, wellbeing and pleasure in our company.

Just watch these dogs and cat. They sure look happy to me! One thing I know, animals make me feel happy!

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