I had a pretty rough evening last night and was feeling really sad, hurt, and confused. I was so overcome with these emotions. For the record, I rarely feel like this, I don't like feeling like this, and I usually will do all that I can to make myself feel better. But last night, this was difficult for me to do. I was too worked up to go to sleep, but couldn't focus on anything - not a book, not journaling, not TV or a movie. I just sat on the couch and stared at the wall. Claire spent the day at school and was curled up and resting at the other end of the couch. After a few minutes, I looked over at her and her ears were perked up and she was staring at me. When my eyes met hers, she got up, laid right down next to me, and put her head in my lap. And she kept looking at me. I went to pet her, but she ducked and started licking my hand. When I eventually went into the kitchen to get a glass of water, she followed me and stayed so close that I almost tripped over her. When I went to brush my teeth before bed, she sat on the floor in the bathroom until I was done. And when I was finally got into bed to go to sleep, she laid down, pressed right up against me, and rested her head on my chest. She didn't move the entire night.
Dogs just know. They rely on non-verbal communication both to "talk" to us and to "hear" what we are saying, even when we're not speaking it aloud. So yes, of course Claire knew how I was feeling last night - I was showing her with my body language. But what is amazing to me is that she knew what I needed and then she provided it: comfort. And she gave me that comfort until I felt better.
"While he has not, in my hearing, spoken the English language, he makes it perfectly plain that he understands it. And he uses his ears, tail, eyebrows, various rumbles and grunts, the slant of his great cold nose or a succession of heartrending sighs to get his meaning across." - Jean Little