Perhaps with some trepidation, a pair of dog owners led their respective pets towards an unwitting family reunion. Apparently, it had been three months since Harper the puppy had found her forever home, and the young animal had not clapped eyes on her mother since. But how would the retrievers react? In fact, would they even remember each other at all?
Ever since dogs were first domesticated, humans and canines have happily spent their lives together. And this has proven to be a mutually beneficial arrangement, since both species get love and affection from each other. Indeed, our four-legged companions are not given the honor of being called man’s best friend for nothing. But dogs and humans also share a specific behavioral trait: like us, dogs are usually social animals that crave companionship.
However, one of the ways in which humans differ from hounds is by how their families function. Once they are weaned, it is commonplace for very young puppies to be put up for adoption and face the prospect of bidding farewell to their parents and siblings for good. Meanwhile, more dependent human offspring typically spend a much, much greater length of time with their close kin.
But, of course, it is not unknown for humans to become separated from their genetic relatives. In such circumstances, children may grow up and go to great lengths to track down their estranged parents. And in recent years, reuniting separated family members has become a popular premise for several TV programs.
Nevertheless, no TV producer has apparently proposed a similar show for dogs divided in such a manner. And, in fact, some may wonder how canines react when they see family after lengthy periods of separation. Well, Stanley Coren may have some insight on the subject. The canine behavioral specialist is the writer of The Wisdom of Dogs and a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia in Canada.
You see, in 2015 Coren spoke to The Huffington Post about a dog’s psychological makeup. In particular, the American academic described how dogs have the emotional equivalent of an infant human. “A two- or three-year-old [child] will have love and joy and fear and anger and surprise,” Coren said. He also claimed that the average canine is capable of these basic emotions.
Furthermore, Coren explained that the emotional connections a dog makes may affect its memory. In short, the stronger the bond, the more likely the animal will be able to recall a human – or, indeed, another dog. In addition, the more time a puppy spends with its mother, the greater its recall of her in later life.
Pennsylvania-based canine behavior consultant Steven Lindsay was in broad agreement with Coren in an interview with lifestyle website The Nest. There, Lindsay revealed that mother dogs can develop a long-term bond with pups if they remain together for long enough. And it seems that this connection is determined by the biology of canine parenthood.
You see, Lindsay explained to The Nest how giving birth incites a “protective instinct” in a female dog, and this urge only grows stronger over time. Meanwhile, puppies learn from their moms during the “imprinting” process, in which young dogs are essentially taught how to socialize with their peers.
Indeed, it seems that it is vitally important for pups to learn how to behave among their own species – otherwise they may develop problems in their behavior later on. This is just one reason why animal experts advise leaving puppies with their moms for at least eight to 12 weeks, if not longer. And the video clip posted in 2015 showed a great example of excellent puppy-mommy relations.
In late July 2015 an internet user known only as JarretR uploaded footage of a canine reunion to video-hosting site Rumble. And the star of the show was six-month-old puppy Harper. Apparently, a loving family had adopted the scamp when she was just 11 weeks old. This meant that the retriever had not seen her mom in three months.
And the video opens with Harper’s journey by road as her humans take their pet to see her mom again. The car then comes to a halt with the eager puppy bursting to get out of the door – at which point her owners may have been anxious. But when a freed Harper and her waiting mom catch sight of each other, it’s clear that there’s nothing to worry about: the dogs seem to recognize each other instantly.
Harper is shown running towards her mommy, dragging the person holding her leash along for the ride. Then the canines come together on a country road, with their thrashing tails seemingly showing just how much they missed each other. In fact, Harper and mom just cannot stop sniffing and reveling in each other’s familiar scents.
During the initial greeting, Harper also appears to be so excited that she licks her mother’s face. And not only does she shower mom with kisses, but the little dog literally jumps for joy during their reunion. Harper apparently wants to share the moment with her human, too, and turns to them as if to make introductions.
But while Harper responds to her mom with a youngster’s energy and enthusiasm, the more mature dog is a little more reserved. However, as the Nest article also explained, a puppy’s parent shows their love in much more subtler ways than their offspring. And despite her dogged stoicism in the clip, mom’s body language appears to give away her joy.
Then, after the retrievers’ reintroduction, the humans apparently decide to make some quality time for the canines. The group are subsequently filmed taking Harper and her mom for a walk around the countryside, with the younger dog padding along nicely by her parent’s side. And Harper continues to shower doggy kisses on her mother as the pair race across a dusty trail.
The stroll becomes more animated, however, when the humans and dogs hit a waterside stretch, with Harper looking as though she is having the time of her life with her mommy on the beach. Ultimately, though, the fun has to end, and after the uplifting meet-and-greet, the video comes to a conclusion with Harper’s human presumably taking her back home again.
And as the viewing numbers racked up by JarretR’s clip suggest, the internet just can’t get enough of the uplifting dog video. The version uploaded to YouTube alone has amassed an amazing viewing tally of almost four million since it was posted to the site. What’s more, the comments section below the footage is full of positive messages.
One individual mock-lamented, for example, “Why do I do this to myself? I binge watch a bunch of dog videos and make myself cry because it’s just too adorable.” Another viewer found a bittersweet tinge to proceedings, however, since the retrievers were parted again at the end of the clip.
However, for various reasons, not every pet owner can responsibly keep more than one dog. And, in any case, it’s arguably more important for both dogs to have loving homes to consider their own. Here’s hoping, then, that the mother-and-daughter pair are back together again in the future.