Out of sight near the heart ?! Numerous researches in neuroimaging and ethology show that dogs and cats think of their master, even in his absence. 30millionsdamis.fr reviews the results of these studies.
Dogs find their master after a long separation: intense joy and emotion. / © DR
A beagle who howls with joy when he finds his master after 18 months of separation, a bitch who recognizes his own after being away for 3 years… This moving reunion shows that animals remember us, even after a long separation. But, during this absence, do our dogs and cats think of us?
Animals eager to find their master
As early as the 70s, the scientist Rusinov demonstrated, in his work, that "man's best friend" awaits the return of his master by visualizing the scene and the party that follows: caresses, games and sweet words. ("Research on the electrophysiology of the brain of dogs", V.-S. Rusinov, 1973).
In his “Open letter to animals and those who love them” ( Fayard , 2017), the philosopher Frédéric Lenoir recounts that when he was preparing to stay in his country house in Normandy, his cat who lived there permanently systematically waited for her in front of the gate: " My neighbor told me that as soon as she saw Pushkin come out and stand in front of the gate, she expected to see my car in the distance ten to fifteen minutes later, while I never warned her of my coming. By a mysterious sense, my cat knew when I would be back ”.
These experiences show that not only do the animals think of us in our absence since they are watching our return, but in addition, they have extraordinary senses because they sense our arrival.
Happy animals in the face of familiar sights, smells and sounds
Thanks to neuroimaging tests carried out on 90 dogs, Dr. Berns, a neuroscientist at Emory University in Atlanta, proved that the brains of canines react very strongly to photos of their surroundings. In the same way, unlike that of strangers – humans or congeners – the smell of the master activates the so-called “reward” area of the brain, located in the “caudate nucleus” (“Odor of the familiar: an fMRI study of canine brain responses to familiar and unfamiliar human and canine odors ”, Gregory S. Berns, Behavioral Processes , 2014).
This is also the case when dogs hear voices, barks or sighs, both human and canine. Joyful sounds activate the auditory cortex of both species, according to a study by scientists at Lorand Eötvös University in Budapest. Coupled with neuroimaging, ethology has also made it possible to demonstrate that dogs interact with their master in a manner similar to that of a child with his parents, especially when they are fearful or stressed (“Neural mechanisms for lexical processing in dogs ”, A. Andics, Science , 2016).
In short, our animals love us! It's up to us to be worthy of it and to offer them in return, as much care, attention and love …