A study by the medical research charity Harrison’s Fund proves that people empathize with dogs more than their fellow man. In other news, the sky is blue. This may not be the most groundbreaking research, but it is the most adorable.
Researchers printed two advertisements (one with a dog and one with a boy) asking, “Would you give $5.83 to save Harrison from a slow, painful death?”. And yes, they hired Sarah McLachlan to write that ad.
In an utterly unshocking conclusion, Harrison the dog received more donations than Harrison the boy. I wish I could say I was better than those who had participated, but that dog is staring into my soul and I’d donate to him too.
This research has been backed by a more recent study into empathy. Professor Jack Levin and Professot Arnold Arluke, from Northeastern University fabricated four newspaper reports. They featured a human baby, puppy, adult dog, and an adult human. Spoiler Alert: the adult human received the least amount of empathy.
Participants read an article about an attack with a baseball bat that left the victim “with one broken leg, multiple lacerations, and unconscious”. Once again, the only difference being the “who”.
All received high levels of empathy, except the adult human. They concluded that many people “did not view their dogs as animals, but rather as ‘fur babies’, or family members alongside human children”. Moreover, they explained that we feel increased empathy for those who are helpless, and not those who can take care of themselves.
As an adult human, I can confirm dogs deserve the most love. So, here’s some more of those helpless fur babies.