when people say “my dog thinks he’s human” they usually mean “my dog is compassionate. my dog knows when I’m sad.”
I had a dog that was hit by a car and came back with a broken leg. the vet put it in a cast and to reduce mobility we had to keep him in a small kennel most of the time.
he smashed his broken leg into the bars of the kennel and barked and whimpered all day. we took him back to the vet and got a stronger cast, and he still did it. it wasn’t healing.
we took him back again and again and the vet put bigger and heavier casts on each time. his body was propped up on this big plaster thing and we thought “he couldn’t possibly” but he still did.
they had to amputate his leg, but he could run around outside again.
This reminds me of a dog that lived across the street from my parents’ old house. He was hit by a car and had his back broken but he crawled to a culvert and hid out for a few days, surviving God knows how. He was finally discovered and taken to the vet, who was able to medicate the dog’s pain and slightly repair him, but the vet said the dog would never heal right and should be put to sleep. But the family didn’t put him to sleep, instead brought him home so he could die at home I guess? But he didn’t die. He healed up and I suppose felt well enough to move around, though his spine meant he was bent sideways horizontally, like a comma. So he walked around with this bizarre crablike ratcheting, but he still barked and licked and wagged his tail did all the usual dog things. After a year I didn’t even think anything of it. And then I was out mowing the lawn while the dog across the street barked at me, and I guess he ventured too far out into the road and a car hit him — again — though just a glancing blow off the fender as the driver swerved to avoid him. So the dog goes yipping off doing his weird crazy sideways run-stumble, and the driver leaps out of his car and sees this and screams “oh my god” because he thinks he just did that, mauled the dog into this horrible mutant crab-dog freak thing. The driver stutter-started running after the dog into the woods, then paused, then ran a few steps, then recoiled, then seemed like he was about to charge into the trees and — do what? Take the dog to the hospital? Put him down, out of his misery? Capture him for science? Or maybe he should just get back in his car and get the hell out of there? But there I was, watching him, so that was unlikely, not without repercussions. Finally I ambled over there and told him not to worry, the dog was already like that and would probably be fine, and it was, the driver left and the dog came back out of the woods a half hour later and barked at me again while I finished mowing my parents’ lawn.