Our pets are always there for us in times of crisis, that’s for sure
As humans, we tend to give ourselves a lot of credit when it comes to how much we love and care for our animals. And we do love and care for our pets! But a lot of the time, they take care of us right back. This viral thread on Twitter proves it — pet owners everywhere are sharing their sweet stories, and you’ll love reading every last one.
Adweek editor Sammy Nickalls asked her followers to share stories about their pets showing love and understanding on a deep level. Nickalls is also the creator of the hashtag #TalkingAboutIt, which has helped spur an ongoing dialogue about mental health on Twitter.
what’s a big thing your pet does that makes you positive they understand/love you on a deeper level? my cat meows around mealtimes but she never does when I have a migraine; she cuddles and headboops me until I’m able to get up and feed her
— Sammy Nickalls (@sammynickalls) February 27, 2019
Pet owners and lovers everywhere soon began chiming in with their own stories. And so many of us can relate to how our four-legged friends have been there for us when it feels like no one else is.
My dad died recently, and ever since, my dog Herbert has slept snuggled right up next to me every night, instead of at the end of the bed where he usually sleeps. pic.twitter.com/5tJzOXcusp— Holly Alexander (@holly_alexander) February 28, 2019
he has learned to speak both my love language (smothering snuggles, kisses, constant hugs) and my boyfriend’s (calm quiet mellow companionship) and adjusts depending on who he is with!! pic.twitter.com/HZ7r4RAOT3— Morgan Finkelstein ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (@momofink) February 28, 2019
When we were at the hospital waiting for the vet to put down my Theo, I was such a wreck that he came out of hiding in his carrier (he was very sick and unsocial by then) and cuddled on my lap once last time. It was his last gift to me ❤️ pic.twitter.com/fALWAeaoRT— Alex Pinto (@alexwpinto) February 28, 2019
OMG, these stories. Someone sedate me.
I had an ocular migraine one night and my dog Gizmo curled himself around the top of my head. pic.twitter.com/1pA1ycwCaI— Tammy Manning (@TammyMManning) February 28, 2019
One of my cats I got as an abandoned stray, and he was very distrustful due to his unstable kittenhood, lots of hissing and no cuddles *at all*. One night I was watching a TV show that had a very sad scene & I started crying. He jumped up on the couch and cuddle right up with me.— Jam Today (@liddlelamzydive) February 28, 2019
usually Levi wakes me up as early as possible for walks and pets. there was a day where I was so sick and depressed and didn't want to move ever – he stayed next to me sleeping until 3 PM. https://t.co/Xab60y5F5L
— steph (@_moststeph) February 28, 2019
I have seizures that leave me feeling out of sorts and with a massive head ache for days. My late cat SoCo would stay by my side the entire time. She would only purr or chirp. Normally she is very vocal and meows constantly, but never right after a seizure. I miss her. https://t.co/qQb9m8HFnX
— JOH-ee's not here, man. (@JustJoeyJoeyJo) February 28, 2019
The day my dad died, my 3 month old puppy picked up each one of her toys and brought them to me because they make HER happy, and then when I was still sad she licked my face and cuddled up right in my arms, no wiggles or bites. https://t.co/3RQy90Kq6l
— Maggie Williams (@pdxmaggie) February 28, 2019
It’s true that animals are incredibly intuitive — though that really shouldn’t surprise anyone, especially those of us who have owned pets. In a recent experiment published by Biology Letters, dogs showed signs of understanding whether a human or a dog was happy or mad based on facial expressions and vocalizations.
In the first trials, each dog was placed in front of two screens and presented with an image of a dog or human with either a happy or angry facial expression. The images were then paired with a variety of sounds—a playful or aggressive bark for dogs, and a phrase in a happy or angry tone for people. When exposed to complimentary images and sounds in both humans and dogs—i.e. a happy dog facial expression and playful bark—the dogs looked at the screens longer than if the facial expression did not match the sound.
Cats also know exactly how we’re feeling, according to research conducted by Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. They studied 12 cats and their owners and found that the animals behaved differently when their owner was smiling compared to when they were frowning. When faced with a smiling owner, the cats were significantly more likely to perform “positive” behaviors such as purring, rubbing or sitting on their owner’s lap. They also seemed to want to spend more time close to their owner when they were smiling than when the owner was frowning.
It’s all very interesting when you sit and think about how much our animals are aware of — and heartwarming. When I’m upset, my good ol’ dope of a dog, Duke, presses his head on my shoulder (he’s extremely large and tall enough to reach easily if I’m sitting down). My last dog would curl up behind my legs and refuse to leave until she was convinced I was alright, or until I had stopped crying. I can honestly say my animals have calmed me and made me feel secure during bouts of anxiety and depression throughout most of my life, and I’m so thankful for them.
Thanks to evolution, cats and dogs definitely have the skills to read their owners’ needs and emotions — but then, of course, we knew that already.