How can you not love that face?

Bess I agree, Roberto, an out of control dog is a terrible thing. But seriously, they LOVE their owners, really! Okay, I'm biased. This is soon-to-be-mine Bess. And yes, she feels emotion. I'm sure of it.


Look at it this way. If dogs can really feel love then were home free. If they can't then our imagination of the love we think they feel is a reflection of God's gift of sub-creativity. If dogs don't really feel love even so imagining them to do so is no worse then imagining that a tool can(ship, car, hunting rifle, whatever you like to anthromorphise).
I think Oakum's trusty razor comes into play here. We can try to make exijetical or neuroscientific excuses for why we think our animals have feelings and love us, or we can admit that they just really like the food we give them. But I'm one of those crazy city folk who keeps his dog inside, so maybe I've been hardened and made synical by the big, tough city.
Matt is correct. Further, science shows that animals (at least those with endoskeletons), have the same part of the brain that we do, where we feel our emotions. They feel the same emotions we do. We should not be surprised. The cherivim and seraphim additionally are sapient, not merely sentient, yet they do not bear the Imago Dei, either. Animals are not carbon-based robots. I grew up on a farm. The animals we had related to us as persons. They have feelings, the same as we do. They do not bear the Imago Dei, that is the distinction. We are allowed to eat them. They are not allowed to eat us. I've seen an African Grey parrot use English, correctly, to command dogs to stop barking (and they obeyed). Several kinds of animals make tools. But that doesn't mean that they are humans. But they are what they are, and not less, either. Another thing about growing up on a farm is that to me, animals belong outdoors. Especially dogs, which need lots of room to roam. I just don't agree with city folks keeping dogs indoors.
Matt is correct. Further, animals have the same part of the brain that feels emotions in humans. They really do feel the same emotions that we do. They may not think in the same abstract way that we do, at least not much, it is probably that they cannot do representative, or creative/representative art, but they aren't organic robots. I grew up on a farm. I grew up with animals. I do find the way city folks keep dogs and cats indoors to be strange. They (especially dogs) need a lot more room to roam than that(!), but they are distinct individuals, they do relate to us as individuals. The Imago Dei is plainly -not- merley having such sentience (or even sapience, in the cases of the cherivim and seraphim).
Yes, many animals feel emotion, and can certainly love humans and other animals. The hebrew word often used for mammals in the bible and especially in genesis implies that these animals have souls but not spirits (or spirits but not souls, depending on your definition/preference); animals that can respond/interact with humans beyond their own survival instinct. eg: love and care shown to a dog creates different reactions in the dog than love and care shown to a cockroach will.

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