I know my human always jokes that she wishes she could spend all day with me instead of working and interacting with humans. I sure would love that too! But is my human serious? Does she really prefer my K-9 attention compared to that of her fellow humans? I was doubtful at first, but recent studies may indicate that people really do like dogs more than humans. New studies using fictitious stories in the newspaper may give the social evidence needed to conclude unequivocally that dogs are the preferred species when it comes to keeping our humans company and giving them plenty of attention.
Recently, The Times of London put the theory that humans prefer dogs to fellow humans to the test. Writers decided to run an ad asking for help for a fictional character, Harrison. In the first advertisement, Harrison was an adult male. The ad read, “Would You give £5 to save Harrison from a slow, painful death?”. Next, the same newspaper ran the same exact ad, with the same wording, but made the fictional character Harrison a dog. The response was overwhelming. Of the 240 people who sent money to the advertisement, the overwhelming majority responded when Harrison was a dog, compared to an adult human. Clearly, we pups know how to tug at the heartstrings!
Up the Ante
Next, a similar social experiment was conducted in 2013 by Northwestern University. This time, researchers decided to up the ante and featured four different fictional characters looking for help. Four other fictional stories featured a 30-year man, a grown dog, a pup, and a human baby. The fictional news stories all featured the subject being attacked by a baseball bat. Participants in the study were then asked to rank the featured subjects in the order in which they would help them. This time, dogs took second place, but only to the human baby. Participants were most likely to help the human baby, then the puppy, adult dog, and finally the adult man. This study provides even more scientific evidence that babies and puppies are pretty darn irresistible.
Maybe it’s our good nature or our big brown eyes that attract humans to us dogs. Or, perhaps humans just know we would be willing to help them in any situation. Whatever the case, repeated experiments have proven that people like dogs more than humans. As dogs, we are willing to give you the best of our years, and I’m happy to report that humans are willing to help us more than we ever knew.