Dog owners, y'all about to happy-cry.
The problem with owning a dog is you never truly know what your dog thinks about you. Does it actually love you, or does it just see you as the person who gives it treats if it doesn't puke on the carpet? There is no way to know. You can't even judge it based on its smiles because dogs kind of always look like they're smiling.
It's like dogs are your friends' moms who use botox; they're permanently grinning, so you have no idea what they're actually thinking.
Science may have figured out this problem.
In a study published in PLOS ONE, researchers at the National Autonomous University of Mexico trained a bunch of dogs -- five Border Collies, one Golden Retriever and a Labrador Retriever, to be exact -- to sit still in an MRI to get a look at their brains.
Once in the MRI, the dogs were shown pictures of 50 different humans and 50 different pictures of inanimate objects. Researchers recorded each dog's brain activity when shown each picture, and the results will make you "d'awwwwwww" REAL hard.
Central Queensland University animal behaviorist Bradley Smith told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation,
Dogs recognize humans and can pick up on their emotional states! We all aren't just elaborate doggy vending machines!
Queensland dog behaviorist Nathan Williams said dogs developed this ability over tens of thousands of years.
Here is the funny part: The researchers want to do the same study on cats but can't because they don't think there is a way to get a cat to stay still in an MRI.
Also, our cats want to murder us, and we all know it.
Citations: Here's What Happens To Your Dog's Brain When He Sees You (IFLScience), Our Faces in the Dog's Brain: Functional Imaging Reveals Temporal Cortex Activation during Perception of Human Faces (PLOS ONE), MRI scans used to prove dogs can recognise emotional states in humans (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)