What are animals thinking? They feel empathy, grieve, seek joy just like us.

Flavio Musa de Freitas Guimarães
3 min readSep 18, 2022


An excellent and marvellous story that appears in the October 2022 issue of National Geographic magazine.I strongly recommend that you read this document which reports a number of scientific studies on the behaviour of animals.

Tufão and Espoleto — photo by the author

At the beginning the author writes:

“Researchers investigating emotions such as grief and empathy in nonhumans must fend off the charge that they could be anthropomorphizing their subjects. Well, that’s just silly. You are denying animals their inner lives.”, and “If you think anthropomorphizing an animal is a crime, I plead guilty.”

So, me too, I also plead as much guilty as he is.

I advise you to only read my comments below after reading this document written by Yudhijit Bbhattacharjee: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/article/what-are-animals-thinking-feature?rid=4D36D4609AAF4CA8F00A27BEC45AAA92&cmpid=org=ngp::mc=crm-email::src=ngp::cmp=editorial::add=Daily_NL_Thursday_History_20220916………………………………………………………………………………………….…

I did enjoy this article and the breadth and depth of Yudhijit Bhattacharjee’s work.

We have two Chihuahuas who have been living with us for over seven years.

I’ve written about their behaviour in a Medium article, “My dogs and me”*.

Although this race ranks sixty-seventh in intelligence on some sites, this depends on how they are treated, with affection and patient education, as we give them.

The number of forms of communication they have with me, through gestures and their requests for attention, the variety of words and commands they understand, and the tasks they perform at my request belie the classification.

If I’m late in giving them lunch or dinner, they sit across from me and look at me moving their heads from side to side; if I don’t move, they emit a short bark, jump on my legs, and dash out to the kitchen for me to follow.

Our house is large and has a separate part in the back. Sometimes, when I am far away, they enter a room, and the door closes; instead of scratching at the door (a noise I wouldn’t hear), they give a short bark, similar to what they make when urging me to follow’em to food. If it takes me a while to find out where they are, they repeat the same bark, just one.

Their joy and gratitude when I let them go, you can imagine.

Before I even get home, they know the sound of the car’s engine, and they’re already barking at the grate of the garage; it is a very different type of bark than when a car, a motorcycle, or other dog passes by the house.

But the main point I ask you is whether it is true, or my illusion, that dogs communicate with others at a distance.

If they hear a single bark from a neighbourhood dog, they also bark a single one; if the other response is as well with one bark, they leave and go do something else or lie down in their beds.

Instead, if the other “responds” with three barks, they respond also with three.

If no other sound is emitted, both my dogs and the other keep silent; if more than three barks… then a “conversation” begins and goes on until one shuts up and the other doesn’t respond.

What do you think? Am I so an anthropomorphization addict that I’m going nuts?



Flavio Musa de Freitas Guimarães

Already watching the eighty-eight turn of the Earth in curtsy around its King, I’m an engineer that became a writer, happy, in perfect health, body and mind.