Have you ever noticed when you're sad that your dog seems to comfort you? I'd noticed this myself since I was a kid, but I saw a remarkable documentary from Nova called Dogs Decoded (available for streaming on Netflix, http://bit.ly/pgmIs8), that shows some of the research scientists are conducting to try and uncover the facts here. Among other things, they suggest that dogs can read human emotions, that humans can understand different types of dog barks, and that specific types of dog barking may have actually evolved in order to communicate better with human beings.

One thing I found fascinating is that dogs seem to "read" a human face the way we do. As humans, we tend to look at the left side of a human face first. Dogs don't do this with other dogs or animals, but they do it with people. The thinking is that since a human face is non-symmetrical and that we tend to display our emotions more on the left side of the face than the right (http://bit.ly/n81YbW). (This research on the split sides of the human face and micro-emotions is fascinating on its own -- here's a brief summary of micro-expression research: http://bit.ly/pyQ6M5.) Anyway, there's a lot more in the Nova documentary (http://bit.ly/pgmIs8) I won't spoil it.

I also just read this article "Do Animals Smile?" (http://yhoo.it/pOgNUm) which suggests that a dog's "submissive" facial gesture act much like a smile and it functions to disarm aggression. I think everybody needs a Dog smile on a Friday, and if you're in another timezone, you probably could use some Dog love too... :-)
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