It’s been two weeks since Rover ( the family dog) died and I feel especially awful that I haven’t really written much about it. I know animals don’t live as long as man but when you have a pet you just sort of expect it to live forever or at least till you are old. One thing I have always wondered though is whether animals perceive time and events the same way we do. Some say that a year for a human is 7 dog years. With that idea does that mean dogs experience comparatively more things than we do in the short time they are alive? If they do, how are they able to comprehend our space and time when they interact with us for instance?
As usual I did a little research about the perception of time for animals. A study by William Roberts popped up (you should read it). According to him, dogs (animals) are ‘stuck in time’; they don’t perceive time entirely in the same way as humans do. They are only aware of the present and do not have the sort of episodic memories that man has. Dogs are only able to tell time through their internal processes like hormonal changes and neural changes, and perhaps physical changes in the environment.
Roberts study made me realise that animals are a lot different from man than we can imagine; Dogs have no memories of the past because they cannot ‘time travel’ like we can. It occurred to me that may be the only reason why they have a different memory type is for them to enjoy each experience, hence not noticing how short their lifespan is-probably the reason why they don’t mind fetching the same bone over and over again for an hour. Hence, when they live one year it is like 7 years for them because they are not robbed off the eccentrics of each events that déjà vu won’t let humans enjoy.
Lots of arguments have been made to counteract Roberts’ evidence. But this study best answers my questions about dog years. Does it answer yours?