Several weeks ago when my dog, Emma Belle, was very sick I rushed her to the vet's office as soon as they opened on Monday morning. The vet took her to the back for an X-ray and some more blood work to find out what the problem might be, and said she would call me later in the morning with some news. I fully expected to bring her home that afternoon. Instead she called to say it was very bad, and our options were essentially nil. I knew what had to be done, so I called K and we agreed to meet at the vet's office immediately. When we walked in the vet met us in private and told us Emma had passed away about 20 minutes earlier.
I always regretted that I wasn't with her when she passed. Yes, I'm one of those people who "humanized" my dog. I scratched her head, looked her in the eye and talked to her, asked her if she needed to go outside or was hungry, etc. We talked a lot, she and I. I had this haunting fear that she died alone on a cold, hard table, wondering "where is he?", or however you say that in dogspeak.
Last night on ABC Evening News, and also reported online, were the findings of a study that said dogs have cognitive abilities similar to that of a 2 year old child. They listen, look you in the eye, follow your eyes if you turn to look at something else, know when you don't feel well, can understand a vocabulary of over 100 words, etc. In other words, our humanizing efforts aren't wasted. They know when they're loved and can often develop telepathic communication skills with their owners. I guess you could say they're bilingual.
I'm glad to hear of this as it allows me to think she knew she was loved and that I had taken her to the vets office for treatment and was not abandoning her. She knew me better than that. :)