Thanks to Facebook, I have found out some pretty great info about the relationship between dogs and their owners! One of my friends, who is a pharmacist at the hospital where I work, just posted some great facts about dogs and their owners as a status update. I thought the following was just fascinating!
Studies have found that when people interact with their dogs, oxytocin levels increase in both the person and the dog. Oxytocin is a "feel good" hormone and is related to the bonding between mothers and their babies. In other words, it is totally natural that a lot of people consider their dogs to be their "fur kids." Studies have also shown that dogs can in fact read human facial expressions; therefore, they do have the wherewithal to choose how they respond to these expressions. When Claire is being naughty, she gets The Look. And when she gets The Look, she pouts. Well, she does the equivalent to a pout: she lowers her head or rests her head on her paws and looks up at me while sighing or giving me a quick whine in protest.
My friend said, "Not only do I feel a dork for considering Bentley my child, but I can now add science to my rationalization!" Hey, all I know is that I now feel completely validated :)