You know that moment.   You enter your door, and there are those adorable eyes looking at you with eager anticipation.   Perhaps there’s even some bouncing and jumping going on.  Perhaps a wagging tail or soft purring.

Yes, it’s really an angel in disguise to remind you that you are loved, appreciated, and wanted – as you are, without judgment.  This is our most primal, essential need for survival and well-being.  It is what we (hopefully) experienced as infants and what we actually seek in our adult intimacy.

Studies now confirm what pet owners have always known, that . . .

. . . the positive interaction between humans and pets is beneficial to both.

The gaze between a person and their dog shares similar physiological properties to a mother an infant.  Research identifies that after petting and playing together, both dogs and people experience an increase in endorphins, oxytocin and dopamine.  These are the neurochemicals connected with happiness and bonding.

A recent study shows that owners of dogs who share a long mutual gaze had higher levels of oxytocin in their urine than owners of dogs having a shorter gaze.  Ocytocin is known as the “cuddle hormone” connected to social and maternal bonding.

A study led by Miho Nagasawa of Azabu University in Japan found that owners AND the dogs whose dogs showed the most eye contact had a notable boost in oxytocin concentration.  It was drawn from this study that the gaze between dogs and the people who love them creates a very similar physiological profile to the relationship between mothers and babies.  This helps us understand the bonding that takes place between pet owners and pets.

One final note, as to those angel eyes – resistance is futile and the feeling is mutual.


For more information on the study go to . . .