That man’s best friend has a conscience is what every owner would be willing to bet, without even thinking about it for a moment. This means that dogs have self-consciousness. But the problem in science is that ideas and assumptions must be demonstrated. It is not enough for someone to have an inkling of something for it to be considered a scientific fact. Self-awareness, or self-consciousness, has been studied mainly by examining the responses of animals and children to their reflection in the mirror.
My wife adores our cats. Now, I’m not a cat person, but my wife loves them. In fact if we had children and someone held a gun to her head and said choose between the kid or the cats, there would likely be an uncomfortable amount of time before a response. The big question is, why do we love animals like we do our own children? Well a small study helps try to answer this complex question by investigating differences in how important brain structures are activated when women view images of their children compared to images of their own dogs.