Do Animals Have Emotions?

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 10th grade February 2008

download word file, 5 pages 3.0

Downloaded 2600 times

Many years ago my family and I were having lunch outside my grandfather's house. It was the first time my entire family got together to celebrate my grandfather's birthday. It was a beautiful night; we were dancing, eating and celebrating that special day. After a couple of hours, my grandpa decided to go to get some rest because he felt tired, but before going to sleep, he said these words that I will never forget "I'm so happy! My family is here, united and that's how I want you to be… united and happy! I love you all!" After what he said, he went to bed followed by his loyal dog named Rocco.

I remember seating in the living room with my cousins talking about grandpa and his adventures when we heard Rocco barking out loud. Something was different about his bark; it was like he was crying. My whole family ran into my grandpa's room and we found him asleep (that's what we thought).

Rocco was lying by his side with his head and ears down. My uncle went to check if grandpa was all right but he wasn't. My grandfather died that beautiful night next to his loyal dog.

After that night, the smiles that we had turn into tears and sadness. His dog didn't want to eat or go out for the following day. Rocco was sad and we could fell it. My grandfather had that dog for 15 years, and after that time Rocco was like part of the family. A week went by and Rocco still didn't want to eat or do anything. We were getting worried because we felt like Rocco was killing himself, and that's what happened. Rocco died one week after my grandfather and we knew that was because he got sad or maybe depressed. The dog could live without my grandpa; the dog felt lonely and that's what killed him.

Many people say that animals don't have emotions or feelings. Some people say that animals are just wild creatures that we can use in our advantage. Or maybe, animals are just in this planet to use their fur, their skin or to use them in scientific tests. Many people don't believe that animals have feelings but they do. Recently, many scientists, animal behaviorist and zoologists have been studying animals and their behaviors and the possibility of them having some sort of feelings. What did they discover? Animals feel pain, love, loneliness, sadness, etc. They proved that humans are not the only ones that feel these emotions; they proved that animals also do have emotions.

When humans try to express their feelings, they could use body languages or movements or they could just talk about it. Most people express their feelings by talking; something that's ease to do for humans. For animals is another story. Talking is the only difference between man and animals. Animals have to communicate their feelings by "posture, vocalizations, gestures and actions" (M. Masson + McCarthy 21). Some people that have lived with animals for more than ten years can define their "animal's mood by observing their body languages" (M. Masson + McCarthy 21).

Animals don't talk like humans do but this fact doesn't mean that animals don't have feelings or emotions. That's why animals have to find another way to show how they feel in relationship with situations that happen around them. For example, when a little puppy is taken to a new house, he would feel afraid and this would make him run into a place in the house in which he could hide. When a dolphin is happy, he would be jumping and swimming fast. When a giraffe has an offspring, she would protect him and the offspring will follow her. These exampled show how animals show their feelings to others just like humans do but in their own way.

The best example of an animal showing his emotions or feelings is a dog.

And one example of their feelings is when dogs wan to show if they are happy or sad. Every time my grandfather told Rocco "Ok buddy, it's time to go for a walk!", he would open his eyes real big, he would jump, bark and then Rocco would race to the door and he would star turning around faster and faster. It was like Rocco couldn't control his joy. On the other hand, when my grandfather said to Rocco "No!" to something he wanted, he would look at my grandpa in a disappointing way, his ears would fall and he would lie on the floor all sad.

Dogs can show if they are happy or sad. When a dog is happy or if he does something enjoyable, his levels of chemical dopamine increase on his brain. Dopamine stimulates an animal's pleasure center and this organ is located in their brain. On the other hand, when a dog is sad, he would do something like chewing in order to stimulate his pleasure center and increase the levels of dopamine. That's the way it works in a dog's brain.

Dogs are the best when it comes to showing their feelings. Another emotion that dogs show is when they love or have someone. Dogs and Pets adore their owners, but not in the way that we love our own families. "They are scholars of the people they live with," says Jon Katz, author of the just-released "The New Work of Dogs." "What drives them to be affectionate is pretty primitive: food, shelter, attachment. They're not thinking, 'This guy's an interesting fellow, I'm going to be his friend'." ("Animal Emotions"). Freud, a famous scientist, said "dogs love their friends and bite their enemies, quite unlike people, who are incapable of pure love and always have to mix love and hate in their object relations" (M. Masson 4). This comment show how dogs act in relationship with others. If a dog doesn't like someone, he would bark or bite that person. On the other hand, if a dog loves you, "he will love you always, no matter what you do; no matter what happens, no matter how much time goes by" (M. Masson 4). They show love and hate in a different way. They can't love and hate at the same time; is one or the other.

Another interesting thing about dog's feelings is their fear to loneliness or abandonment. When my grandpa died, his loyal dog felt lonely. For Rocco, my grandpa was his only companion for many years and when he was gone, Rocco felt lonely and this made him kill himself. Just like when a person dies, humans feel that way too. "It's easy to know when a dog is lonely, even if she does not display unusual behavior. A dog is lonely when she is alone, and in loneliness she is bored" (M. Masson 90). It's true that dogs feel lonely once in their life time, they might not say it because they can't talk but they show it in some other way.

Not just dogs, animals in general have shown that they feel and act according on what they feel or need. Animals, like humans, need to be taken care of, need to be feed, they need protection and most important, they need love. Dogs are the best when it comes to show feelings and emotions. Dogs will love or hate someone regardless of age, race or status. They will just care about if someone shows them interest or love, and when this happens, they will be happy and they will show it. Animals have emotions; it's just a matter of time that people can see this fact and act or do something about it.