What Is a Heart Dog?
If you've taken care of a dog at least once in your life and felt genuinely bonded with your pet, you may have a "heart dog." The term heart dog is a concept among dog lovers to mean that one special canine in their lives that's pretty much an equivalent of a soulmate.
But before we talk about heart dogs, it’s first essential to understand why dogs and humans share such a special bond.
The Human-Canine Bond
You've probably heard the phrase "a dog is a man's best friend" way too many times, and often, that is the case. Dogs make loyal companions. They are also protectors. And often, dogs are regarded as part of a family, like your very own child or sibling.
Because dogs are family in every sense of the word, you feed them, give them a comfortable bed, bring them to the vet when they’re sick, play with them, talk to them, and basically treat them like you would another human who is very special to you. In other words, dogs are more than just family pets.
Interestingly, the human-canine bond did not start this way at all. In the prehistoric times, dogs are scavengers, far from the image of the domesticated dogs we have today. The present-day dog is known to have descended from wolves, and although most of their behaviors have been tamed, the modern dog still has a lot of the wolf's characteristics, including the following:
- They are territorial.
- They feel a sense of belongingness and happiness with their pack.
- They greet other dogs enthusiastically.
- They display aggressive behavior against threats and enemies.
- They are prey-driven and use of their senses.
- They howl.
However, the domesticated dog has a particular set of behaviors that allow them to get along easily with humans. Dogs find it easy to live their lives with their humans, and humans feel a great sense of companionship and friendship with their four-legged furry babies.
Why is it so easy for dogs and humans to bond? Here are some reasons:
- Emotional connection
Humans don't regard dogs as alien species. Dogs and humans can connect at an emotional level because most humans regard dogs as family, rather than a different species. If you find yourself talking to your dog and your dog somehow listens and understands you, it's because you can connect with the canine emotionally.
- Ability to sense human activity
Second, the dog has exceptional senses to predict human activity. Whether you're preparing a meal, getting ready to bed, leaving for work, or about to arrive home, dogs can sense it. They have the instincts of a hunter from their wolf grandparents, allowing the modern-day dog to detect not only food but also the actions of their owners.
- Ability to empathize with human feelings
Lastly, dogs are very attuned to human emotions. It seems like dogs know when to comfort you when you are sad or look guilty when they do something wrong. They have an incredible ability to identify human feelings and respond to these feelings accordingly.
Now, with these abilities and characteristics, it’s not very difficult to form a deeper human-dog bond and relationship. And with that, the idea of a "heart dog" is born.
Can You Have More Than One Heart Dog?
Every dog is different, just as how every child is unique to the eyes of their parents. But when that special dog passes away, would you be able to develop that same kind of bond and connection with another dog?
There is no definite answer. People who claim to have a heart dog believe that such dog will always take a special place in their hearts and it's difficult for another dog to emulate that same kind of feeling and affection.
Maybe another dog will come into your life who can protect you, give you company, and comfort you, but when you have a heart dog, it's often difficult to replicate that same feeling. Perhaps you can have several dogs in your life, and all of them can be special to you in their own unique ways, but a heart dog will always be different and will stand out from the rest.
For some dog owners, they don't instantly realize they have a heart dog until that dog passes away. They feel a profound void that other dogs can't seem to fill, even when the other dogs are so much cuter, friendlier, sillier, or gentler. The bond with their heart dog is so special that it's hard to compare it with other dogs.
The heart dog is a fascinating concept and phenomenon, one that every dog owner should explore even more deeply with their canines.