Does your dog seem to read your mind? Does he mirror your personality or illnesses? Many people say they share an energetic bond with their dogs that goes beyond the five senses, and while we often can’t explain it, the phenomenon can’t be denied.
If you sometimes feel you have a connection with your dog that goes beyond the physical, you’re not alone. Many people believe they share an energetic bond with their dogs that can transcend space and time. They may feel their dogs are reading their thoughts or feelings, even over long distances, or that they are reading or mirroring their personalities or illnesses. Some might brush these phenomena aside as coincidental. But are they?
Love spans the distance
Not long after leading the historic expedition that discovered King Tut’s tomb, Lord Carnarvon died in Egypt on April 5, 1923. A few hours later – and thousands of miles away – his dog let out a howl and also died, as if in response to the loss. While this is an extreme example, many of us have experienced or heard stories of dogs who seem to respond to what their people are doing when they’re apart.
A more modern example involves a miniature poodle left at home in the care of a pet sitter while his family went on vacation. The dog was morose and unhappy during their two-week absence, but a day or two before the couple was due back, he became more alert and started waiting at the front door. The pet sitter was amazed, and said it was as if the dog somehow knew his family was coming home.
We don’t really know for sure how dogs do this, but too many examples exist to make it mere coincidence.
Dogs can mirror their people
Animal communicator Capucine Buzzini was saying goodbye to her dying dog when she started to cry. “My dog also started to cry – real tears were coming down her face,” she says. “That is not a dog’s reaction. That is a human reaction.” Capucine believes her dog tapped into her tears to get a message across. “It was her way of making me understand how sad she was. Animals can’t speak, so a reaction like this can be their way of showing us they are with us and understand our suffering.”
Pets can mirror not just emotional pain, but also personality, adds veterinarian Dr. Nancy Scanlan. She refers to the Chinese Five Elements Theory, in which people and their animals exhibit traits associated with one of five elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal or Water. People and their animals often share the same personality type, she says. And each type is prone to certain illnesses.
“People tend to find a dog or cat with a personality that resonates with their own,” says Dr. Scanlan. “And dogs are so much in tune that they take on a lot of their owners’ characteristics. For example, a guy with a chip on his shoulder — a Wood personality — might also have a dog with a chip on his shoulder.”
Dr. Scanlan adds that the Five Elements Theory also suggests some animals are naturally more empathic than others. Earth personalities, and to a lesser degree, Fire animals, may be more likely to feel a loved one’s pain.
Sharing physical ailments
Gus the collie is a constant companion to a central Illinois farmer. He suffered a heart attack on the same day as his owner. Meanwhile, a dachshund named Sophie mirrored the symptoms of her human “mom”, leading to diagnoses of Crohn’s disease for both.
Are these apparent “sympathy pains” simply coincidence — or is something more going on? “On a holistic level, what manifests in us physically is there at an energetic level for some time before it produces symptoms,” says animal communicator Carol Schultz. “Our dogs share the same space with us, and they can tune into that.” In other words, our dogs can pick up on the energy of illness before it manifests in our bodies, and subsequently develop the same or similar problems.
Depending on the illness, there can also be a more simple explanation. Dr. Scanlan reminds us that shared lifestyles can lead to shared illnesses. “If the owners are couch potatoes, the dogs probably are, too,” she says. “And a lot of disease is linked to a lack of exercise.”
Whether or not you buy into the idea that dogs have an energetic bond with their people, it’s a fascinating topic worthy of further study!