The reason for sad puppy dog eyes

Lily is a three-year-old female border collie/Lab mix who would love a home with no cats but she does love other dogs.

Lily is a three-year-old female border collie/Lab mix who would love a home with no cats but she does love other dogs.

As I sat down to the computer this morning, I was gently nuzzled by Watson, who longingly stared at me with the saddest puppy dog eyes I had ever seen. I glanced at my watch and realized he was trying to tell me it was breakfast time. He had communicated his need with just a look.

Dogs are amazing because they can change their facial expressions when they know people are looking at them. For the classic “sad puppy eyes,” dogs raise their inner eyebrows to make their eyes look larger and more infant-like. This expression elicits an emotional response from the onlooker. It sure worked on me; I immediately served Watson breakfast.

Dogs have been man’s best friend for so many years they have learned to monitor humans by intently watching our gestures. They are able to read human gestures and communicative signals in ways other animals can’t.

Recently a research team developed a rubric that defines facial expressions by the specific muscles a dog flexed. What they found was dogs were more facially expressive when a human faced them and there was a notable change in behavior because of human attention.

Here is what I have observed living with Watson. He knows how to tell time because he wakes us up at 6 a.m. every morning. Watson lets us know when he is hungry, needs a walk or lots of petting. I think that human behavior is changed because of a dog’s attention; I know that for a fact, just looking at his sad puppy dog eyes.


Vendors for Bark in the Park to be held May 5. We would like a huge variety of goods and services. If you know anyone who would like to have a booth, we are open to any variety. Please contact Karen at 775-423-7500.

Aluminum cans, which we recycle to augment our shelter funds. We are now able to pick up cans from you! If you have cans to pick up, call 775-423-7500.


Cary Jaques for alerting CAPS to the community service organization Just Serve. On April 16-21, volunteers will be helping nonprofit organizations in the Fallon area. A Four Paws Salute to you!

Our faithful volunteers who walk dogs, socialize cats, answer phones and clean kennels, run errands, you are the heart and soul of CAPS. You embody the community spirit of Fallon.


CAPS will be at Walmart on April 14 with the Kissin’ Booth and a puckered-up pooch. Come by to get your pooch smooch. We have colorful caps, shirts and mugs, so be sure to check out the merchandise after you have loved on our pup.


To enroll in AmazonSmile program, a website operated by Amazon. Customers enjoy many of the same selection of products, low prices and shopping features as on The only difference is, when you shop on AmazonSmile (, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5 percent of the price of eligible purchases to the charitable organization selected by you.

Flower Tree Nursery will again be raffling a 20-gallon tree on June 15, and the winner doesn’t have to be present. The raffle tickets are available at Flower Tree, and they are $1 for one ticket and $5 for six tickets


CAPS’ mailing address is P.O. Box 5128, Fallon, 89407. CAPS’ phone number is 775-423-7500. CAPS’ email address is Please visit the CAPS website ( and Facebook page (Churchill Animal Protection Society). Be sure to “Like” CAPS on Facebook because we are really likable. CAPS is open to the public on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Do you have questions, comments or a great story? Contact me,

Kathleen Williams-Miller, a CAPS volunteer, contributed this week’s column.


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