One of the many gifts that pets bring into human beings’ lives is empathy. We all know people who sit through movies without so much as the flicker of an eye when human characters come to a sad end but who cry buckets if the dog dies or another animal is mistreated. In fact, this is such a common phenomenon that film producers now tack a standard disclaimer onto the closing credits of any film that uses animals:
“No animals were harmed during the making of this movie.”
In this heartwarming video clip, young Jack observes the family dog peering dejectedly out the window as his master or mistress leaves the house. The dog looks upset, doesn’t she?
Jack sees how sad the dog is. Jack himself is old enough to know that when one of his parents leaves the house, that parent will always return. Jack instinctually understands, though, that the family dog is unable to comprehend this truth. He pats his canine pal consolingly upon the head and puts a comforting arm around the pet. He even tries to verbally acknowledge that the reason the dog feels sad is because the dog’s beloved human is “gone.”
The dog allows herself to be petted, but she does not move from her vantage point near the window. That’s okay with Jack; he snuggles closer. In this short snippet of video, we see the empathy that Jack feels for his pet, and we also see his first dawning comprehension that he has a much, much clearer understanding of the world around him than his dog has.