By: Caroline Springs
A recent California study at Claremont Graduate University reported dogs and cats release the same hormone humans do when they are in love. The study suggests that oxytocin is released when animals are in intimate situations like humans.
USC student Brooks Miley has owned a cocker spaniel named Abbey for almost a year.
"She loves me more than she could ever love anything in the world more than food I figured that out she'll leave her food for me," grinned Miley.
Miley believes that his pets are capable of loving.
"She's a dog but she loves you just like you love her," states Miley.
It is clear that dogs and cats have emotions but experts question the terminology of the study.
"It's dangerous for us to be anthropomorphic and say that just because oxytocin is released by pets or animals in response to interaction with us that that automatically means a complex human emotion like love," says veterinarian Dr. Robert Cabe explains.
Dr. Cabe says he's unsure if there will ever be a real answer.
"There is certainly recognition of us there's importance for us but the question is is our importance to animals because they love us or because we are food sources and interaction sources and social bonding sources for them," says Dr. Cabe.
Kaye Massie is a pet owner who runs Irmo Pet Retreat. She has a different opinion. Massie says animals' ability to love is phenomenal.
"There is no doubt in my mind they are capable often times of more love than humans I believe because it doesn't matter what you do to them they still love you and they love you unconditionally," Massie exclaims.
Massie considers her pets a part of the family.
"All of my children have four legs my husband and I decided our children would be puppies and kitties so our family has lots of feet," says Massie.
She does believe that her job gives her greater insight into the animals she cares for.
"So yes do I believe that they can love and form attachments yes I see it I see it everyday I see it with the dogs multiple dog family households come in they snuggle up in bed together they play together in the yard yes they're bonded they're attached and they love each other I don't need a study to tell me that," says Massie.
If you asked your pet if they loved you, what would they say? Experts may be unsure if animals can actually love but pet owners know what the kisses and tail wagging means.