A New Study Shows Dogs Responding to Distressed Owners More Efficiently

Several stories have showcased a dog rescuing a person in dire need. It’s widely known that a dog responds to or approaches a human crying or showing any sign of distress. Recently, a group of researchers conducted a study to find whether a dog would go one step further than just approaching a distressed person and taking any action to help.

The Preparation

For the experimental study, the researchers recruited 34 dogs, including therapy dogs and pet dogs. This particular group of dogs included a variety of ages and breeds, from an adolescent spaniel mix to an elderly golden retriever therapy dog. The owners filled out a survey paper each about the training and behaviors of their dogs. The researchers attached a heart rate monitor to each dog’s chest to measure the stress responses during the experiment.

The Experiment

To create a barrier separating the dogs and their owners, the researchers asked each owner to sit on a chair behind a magnetized shut clear door, which could be easily pushed open by a dog. Half of the owners were instructed to cry loudly every 15 seconds and say ‘help’ in a loud distressed voice. The other half were assigned to say ‘help’ in a calm voice every 15 seconds, while humming “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” The researchers observed the dogs’ behaviors by running the test until the dog opened the door, or until five minutes, for those who didn’t.

The Findings

The researchers found that almost half the dogs opened the door to go near their owners, crying or humming. In the case of crying owners, the dogs opened the door within an average of 23 seconds, while the others took nearly a minute and a half. Also, the dogs that opened the door more quickly were found to be less stressed than their counterparts that took longer. The researchers didn’t find any difference between the pet dogs’ and therapy dogs’ reactions.

This Abandoned Site Was Once “The City of 1,001 Churches”

The capital of medieval Armenia, Ani — also known as the city of 1,001 churches — was a thriving center of trade and faith. Today, its ruins are all that remains of the medieval capital, which was once part of the earliest kingdoms to adopt Christianity as its state religion.

Ruins from the ancient city of Ani
This Abandoned Site Was Once “The City of 1,001 Churches”

The Ruins of Ani

East of the Turkish city of Kars, lies a complex of Octagonal towers, medieval churches, crumbling walls, and fallen columns scattered across vast grasslands. The gorge that drops away to the Akhuryan River (now forming the border between modern Armenia and Turkey) is an ancient bridge, broken in the middle.

The gorge between the borders of Armenia and Turkey where there is a broken ancient bridge in the middle
This Abandoned Site Was Once “The City of 1,001 Churches”

Ani was chosen to be Armenia’s capital in the 10th century and became home to over 100,000 people. Because the city was richly endowed with sacred buildings, it became known as the city of 1,001 churches.

The Rise & Fall of the City of 1,001 Churches

The city’s rapid expansion began when the capital was moved to Ani in 961. Known today as the “City of 1,001 Churches,” it also used to be referred to as the “City of 40 Gates.” Ani became the site of the royal mausoleum of the Bagratuni kings of Armenia.

The remains of an ancient church that was once part of the city of Ani
This Abandoned Site Was Once “The City of 1,001 Churches”

Its strategic position played a huge role in the city’s growth. However, the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea’s trade routes made it an attractive possession, condemning it to centuries of invasion.

In 1046, Ani surrendered to the Byzantines (after opposing several armies before), and a Byzantine governor was installed in the city, which decimated its population. In 1072, the city was sold to the Shaddadids, a Muslim Kurdish dynasty.

Between 1124 and 1209, the city moved back and forth between the Georgians and the Shaddadids until, in 1236, the Mongols captured the city and massacred much of the population. By the 14th century, the city became part of the Ottoman Empire.

A look inside one of the remaining ancient churches
This Abandoned Site Was Once “The City of 1,001 Churches”

In 1319, an earthquake devastated the site, and by 1735 the site was abandoned entirely when the last monks left the monastery.

Religious Remains

Today, archaeologists have found around 40 churches, mausoleums, and chapels.

The north facade of the Ani Cathedral
This Abandoned Site Was Once “The City of 1,001 Churches”

Even though the Cathedral of Ani has a collapsed dome and destroyed corner, it remains imposing in scale, rising above the city of the 1001 churches. A fun fact about the cathedral is that it was completed in 1001 by the Armenian King Gagik I.