Remember the scene in the beginning of 101 Dalmatians, where Pongo is eagerly searching the street for a lady and lady-pooch? Everyone he spies from his vantage point has a very distinct and recognizable personality. And each has a dog to match.
Turns out, that short (and hilarious) scene sums up life pretty well. People really do look like their dogs!! You’re not making it up when you see an owner walking her pup and think, “They could be sisters!”
Turns out, one of the faces you see the most is your own. Reflections, pictures, checking your hair with your phone’s front camera… We unconsciously obsess over our own face. Or just the idea of a human face.
It’s pretty common for us to look at a jumble of dots, and recognize human features there. I know I’ve seen some stuff in the water stains near my ceiling! And what that boils down to is our instinct to search for familiarity.
Now, some people may be reading this, and turn around to see that their dog really doesn’t resemble them. That’s fair. It’s not always about looks, though! Our want to recognize human traits goes into personality and actions, too.
We instinctively form closer bonds with those who resemble ourselves. Family ties are so strong partly because, well, family is family. It goes beyond blood and into physical looks, common interests, personalities, etc. That’s why, when an “outsider” enters the mix, tensions can get high. That is, until we find out what we have in common with that person.
We’ve all heard that first impressions are the most important! And the trait we subconsciously prioritize is trustworthiness. In the time it takes to shake someone’s hand, chances are we have already made up our mind if we can trust them.
I think it’s safe to say that when we are looking to extend our families, we look out for the little things that we know (and maybe are comfortable with.) A dog’s look is the first thing we notice. Big eyes may make us associate sweetness with him. A short snout could make us think of a baby’s squish-face! Basically, we project human characteristics on our pets, ’cause that’s how we connect.
And often, we project ourselves onto them. Let’s be honest: we’re all a little vain.
Maybe that’s why Pongo really felt the spark the first time he laid eyes on Anita and Perdita. Out of all the interesting people he saw walk by, it was the other dalmatian!
Essentially, we’re just looking for another version of ourselves. And that’s why owners and their pooch’s seem so similar!