Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Breaking News: Animals May Have Emotions

Tuesday September 9 2014

WBUR's Here and Now just ran a piece, "Do Animals Have Emotions?"

I've seen similar studies before, and the more I hear these, the more I wonder if researchers who take the time and money and thought to do these studies have ever spent any time around animals. If so, I don't see how they would even come up with these questions.

Being around dogs, it is blatantly obvious that dogs can be happy, sad, jealous, in love, have best pals. Our dog Austin who recently passed on to the next rabbit-chasin' world *knew* his time was up. One look in his eyes, and anyone (or, perhaps anyone who is not a scientist researching if animals have emotions) could see he knew it, and he was sad about it.

Not everybody is lucky enough to be around horses, but if you are, it's so obvious that horses have emotions. If there are researchers reading this who are considering undertaking more of these amusing studies, let me save you some time and money with these examples:

Finneas, Grandson of the Black Stallion, is conceited and he can get embarrassed, if he's humiliated in front of his subordinates.

Stormy is very possessive of me, and when I'm loving on him, he gets jealous when other horses get too close, even if he's risking a thrashing by another more dominant horse.

Horses can get mad, as Finneas did when I left for the winter; he thought I'd up and abandoned him, and when I came back he wouldn't let me near him.

If you've read Chapter 23 of my book Soul Deep in Horses, about my horse Stormy, you'll know all about how Stormy and Tex became pals. Even if Tex leaves for a while, he always returns to Stormy's side, because they are BFFs.

Horses can have fun; some of them love to play. Just ask Jose, the Owyhee Social Director, who gets the entire Chapter 22 in my book.

I guess this all might be news to some people, or, perhaps I'm missing something here, but, Do animals have emotions? Uh - hello!?


  1. Of course animals have emotions. Zoe dances to Madonna's song "Vogue" and poses just to entertain us when she's being funny. Harry is a grumpy old man with a sly sense of humor! Duh!

  2. What a stupid study and waste of money. Any one with an animal and half a brain can see they have emotions and distinct personalities. I can't even go through all the examples my horses and dogs have exhibited. I wish someone would give me money to study this stuff. What a snap that would be. I'd never have to leave home, just put down what I already know. Does that sound pretentious? Well, maybe a little...

  3. I've always thought a better question would be "Can animals show emotions?" We've bred it into dogs, and it is easy for us to see what they are feeling. A little less easy to see on horses, and even less so for other livestock species. They just don't have the facial muscles we have. And then there's always the question of "Would we recognize it if we saw it?" I mean, let's face it, most of us aren't experts on ear and tail placement as a means of communication. But for most wild animals it is beneficial to not show any emotion, especially fear.

  4. Absolutely believe that animals experience emotions. I don't know if my horses "love" me or want to "please" like the dogs do, but they are certainly characters and have separate personalities.

  5. When I was in High School...oh, like 50 years ago, my biology teacher insisted animals did not think and had no emotions. No matter how I argued with contrary evidence, he insisted there was no scientific proof to back up my "anecdotal" proof. Wonder what he would say today with all the recent studies proving animal intelligence.

  6. I had this awesome professor in college, Dr Ted Friend, for animal behavior. I still remember some of his anecdotes about animals. he's still at Texas A & M, teaching and doing studies.

    it's so silly - of COURSE they have emotions, and of course some of them think. whatever the scientists want or have a need to call it.

  7. The old cat gets really sulky when I've been away a few days, ignores me for a bit really aloof, then finds that he has an emotional need for attention and becomes my shadow. He doesn't like to be laughed at. And he knows when another person or animal is getting better attention than him.

    The old stallion knew that his time was up. When the vet came to euthanase him, he came and lay down at my feet, then when I knelt down he put his head into my lap. He was ready.

  8. I saw one of the studies about animal emotions and thought the same thing you did. Duh. They have emotions. It's so dang obvious. Horses, dogs, cats, birds. The more you know them, the more personality they exhibit.

  9. duhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!But i belong to one of the overly emotional horses featured Finneas, and he is a grandson of the Black Stallion , incase you did not know.