SMILE!

News outlets nowadays seem to have more demoralizing content than usual, which makes sense due to the global corona virus epidemic. But while I recognize the need to keep informed, I also feel like I’m going crazy, and I need some good news in my day to day life. December and March is commonly associated with flu season, and yet every time I sneeze or cough now my mom nearly faints and I fear for my life. A small yet effective way to mitigate this overwhelming and irrational sense of anxiety and impending doom is to dedicate an articles solely on positive events around the world. So, for the next weeks, only positive articles!

All over this crazy world of ours, great and heart-warming things take place. Acts and facts like these keep our hopes up and motivate us to make positive changes of our own. Let’s learn more about them!

The human-like characteristics we attribute to our pets might not be figments of our imagination after all. Research has shown that our furry companions could actually be smiling back at us as a sign of affection (or to win a yummy treat).

People’s attempts to "anthropomorphize" animals are almost always exaggerated. However, in the case of smiles and laughter, smart creatures like dogs are certainly capable, although it could mean different things. Like many other animals, dogs have the ability to experience and share feelings. They are empathic and have a sense of humor. They can dream, play, display signs of jealousy, feel sad. So why is it farfetched to think they can smile? Not only are dogs absolutely capable of laughing while playing with their owner or with other dogs, but it has been scientifically proven that dog laughter is contagious to other dogs. Just like with humans, dogs don’t only smile when they are in a good mood, it’s an expression that changes depending on the context. Sometimes, dogs smile when they’re uncomfortable. In other cases, their grin is a pacifying one, when they know they did something bad, when they feel guilty or when they see their owner is feeling blue. Unlike humans who smile with their mouths and eyes, dogs display their happiness and excitement through their mouths, ears, tails, and even their whole bodies by twirling or jumping. They can smile when they need to show a level of submission (my dog does that when he doesn’t want to get into the car or take a bath, but he knows he has to). Finally, and probably the most commonly talked about, the imitative nature of a dogs’ smile. As they coexist with humans, they begin to find ways to interact with them and so develop some habits and facial expressions that they would not exchange with other dogs. They’re cute and they know it.

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