The study was published in the scientific journal Current Biology. The lucky scientists who completed the study by looking at the amount of tears in a dog’s eyes before and after reuniting with their owner, and with other humans they know.
They found that “tear volume increased significantly during reunion with the owner, but not with a familiar non-owner.”
Now if that isn’t the most adorable conclusion to a scientific study ever, then I don’t know what is.
Anyone that owns a dog knows that they get excited when you return after an extended period of time. But a dog shedding tears when emotional is a brand new discovery.
“We had never heard of the discovery that animals shed tears in joyful situations,” Takefumi Kikusui, the co-author of the paper told TheScientist. “We were all excited that this would be a world first."
Kikusui came up with the idea for the study when his poodle, Jasmine, gave birth to a litter of puppies. Jasmine was nursing her pups when Kikusui noticed that his poodle had some tears in her eyes.
It is believed humans cry emotional tears - when sad or happy - as a way of non-verbal communication, and the researchers believe that the same thing might be going on with our canine friends.
“Unlike any other animal, dogs have evolved or have been domesticated through high-level communication with humans and have gained high-level communication abilities with humans using eye contact,” they said.
“Dogs have become a partner of humans, and we can form bonds.”
“In this process, it is possible that dogs that show teary eyes during interaction with the owner would be cared for by the owner more.”