Blog: Dog is Love

Written by: Gemma Askham

I didn’t think I could love dogs more than I already did. I would bet all the dog treats I have in my pocket at any given moment that almost everyone in the audience at Dr Clive Wynne’s Dog Is Love event felt the same way. Dr Wynne shattered that illusion by revealing that dogs feel something like love towards us back, thus endearing them to me, and the rest of the audience, even more than we ever thought possible. He went on to explain some of the research that shows how and why dogs love us, giving everyone a valuable insight into our beloved dogs, and the undeniably unique relationship that forms between the two very different species.

Dr Wynne’s talk was of academic interest to me as I am currently doing my final year dissertation on the relationship between humans and dogs. His talk and book (also called Dog Is Love) have provided me with some fascinating topics to discuss in my own research, and if I can contribute even the smallest amount to helping people understand human/dog relationships then I’ll be very proud. It was an honour to hear Dr Wynne speak about a subject which we are both so passionate about.

Dr Wynne’s dog, Xephos, inspired Dog Is Love, much like my dog Lexie inspired my dissertation. Lexie is an eight-year-old labradoodle, and as every dog owner says about their dog, she is the best dog in the world. She’s my shadow, my baby, and my best friend, and I have her paw print tattooed on my leg. I thought this was a bit extreme until I spoke to Dr Wynne after Dog Is Love and he signed my copy of the book with a stamp of Xephos‘s paw print! This is only fair as she was the inspiration for the book and has a chapter named after her (she should probably have her name on the cover, too).

It was very exciting to learn that I haven’t imagined the strong bond I think I have with Lexie. Learning she might even feel the same way about me was even better! (Because unrequited love is never fun, regardless of species). Some of the research that Dr Wynne discussed found that dogs’ genes are responsible for their loving nature, which means that forming strong emotional bonds with species they have early contact with is a core part of being a dog. As the title of the book says: dog is love.

The audience Q&A part of the event showed that everyone was delighted to learn this. All but one question was about the individual’s own dog, and the easy laughs at doggy in-jokes and empathetic sighs at the relatable and embarrassing stories meant that by the end, the room practically glowed with love for our furry family members. I’m sure everyone went home to tell their dogs all about what miraculous creatures they are, and how much we love them.


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