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Decoding the love language
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Decoding the love language

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I’m not much of a romantic and tend to concur with a quick-witted colleague who recently wrote that Valentine’s Day is a “ginned-up sham of a ‘holiday’ that makes the lonely feel lonelier and the coupled-up stressed to impress.”

My lovestruck daughter, on the other hand, spent hours in the kitchen last week whipping up a double-layered, cherry chip Valentine’s Day cake for her main squeeze, a good-natured young man she’s been dating for about six months.


It took Emily, a true romantic, nearly five hours to put together the sweet, baked endowment. And after more than a dozen teeny hearts had been sculpted out of pink fondant icing, she proudly announced that gift-giving — or in this case baking a cake for someone you adore — is clearly her love language.

The term ‘love language’ was coined by American marriage counsellor Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. In his book, which I poured through about five years ago, Dr. Chapman maintains that different people with different personalities give and receive love in different ways.

In addition to gift-giving/receiving, the other potential love languages include physical touch, acts of service, quality time, or words of affirmation.

And, according to Dr. Chapman, once we can pin down what our love language actually is, we can identify the root of our conflicts and connect more profoundly with those we love.

Now, it just so happens that dogs, our most compatible companions and my favourite sidekicks, also possess not just one, but any number of love languages.

In an article in the Daily Wag, American veterinary geneticist Dr. Angela Hughes suggests that our pooches’ love languages are determined by genetic, brain chemistry, upbringing and even training methods.

“Breeds were created to have different behavioural traits and to serve various roles,” she says. “Therefore, each breed group can have innately unique ways of showing their love and affection.”

Moreover, positive reinforcement training that emphasizes praise might lead your dog to develop the ‘words of affirmation' love language. Or, if your four-legged friend is like my Yorkie and loves to receive a new stuffy, than it likely leans toward ‘gift receiving’ as their love language.

Whatever the case, understanding your dog’s love language could be the answer to forming a strong bond with your furry friend.

If nothing else, unravelling the mystery of how our dogs show affection and express emotion is a Valentine's Day gift that will keep on giving.

And that’s a love language I can definitely get behind.

What’s your dog’s love language? Drop me an email and let me know!

Have a great week!

Leesa Dahl

Leesa Dahl

Ready Pet Go

This week in pet news

Exotic pets ad ruffles feathers

An advertising campaign has launched a pre-emptive strike against potential changes to pet bylaws, which it claims would make Winnipeg "the most anti-pet city in all of Canada." The criticism comes despite the fact the city has not formally proposed the changes in question at this point. Officials stress all feedback gathered before the survey closed on Sunday will help shape recommendations that come forward. Read more about the changes here.

Rodger Salm, a Winnipeg-based marketing director for Petland Canada, with a tortoise. The company is against the proposed bylaw changes. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

Emotional support or hogwash? Man fights to keep his pet pig



Wyverne Flatt says Ellie, his potbellied pig, is “family,” an emotional support animal who helped him through a divorce and the death of his mother. But officials in the upstate New York village of Canajoharie see it very differently. To them, the 110-pound pig is a farm animal Flatt is harboring in the village illegally. The case could soon be headed to a criminal trial

Wyverne Flatt with Ellie. (Hans Pennink / The Associated Press)

Snowbird kitty: Lost cat heads home to Maine - from Florida

A Maine family that long ago gave up on a lost family cat is being reunited — more than six years and 1,500 miles later.  How did Ashes get all the way to Florida? No one knows

In this photo provided by Janet Williams, "Ashes" the cat, who had been lost by a Maine family since 2015, is held by Williams at Tampa International Airport, Wednesday Feb. 9, 2022, in Tampa, Fla. (Janet Williams via The Associated Press)

Indonesian croc freed from tire

A wild crocodile with a used motorcycle tire stuck around its neck for six years has finally been freed by an Indonesian bird catcher in a tireless effort that wildlife conservation officials hailed as a milestone.

A crocodile with a motorcycle tire stuck around its neck basks on a riverbank in Palu, Central Sulawesi on Jan. 18, 2020. The wild crocodile has finally been freed by an Indonesian bird catcher. (Mohammad Taufan / The Associated Press)

Pets of the week

Jasmine and Toby

Jasmine (dog) is four years old and Toby (cat) is 3.5 years old. They are both rescues and amazing together. I can’t imagine life without them.

— Erna Mason


This is Sima, my seven-year-old Westie. She has just opened a gift from St. Nicholas. Shredding the wrapping is almost as much fun as playing with the new toy.

— Heidi Redekop

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