The missing child-syndrome is no longer restricted to the good old US., as you can see from today’s pet owners and several media promoted pet psychologists and even mediums.
Charlatans are not restricted to the past.
All the various Lassies had trainers … until the last twenty years or so. I suppose those trainers wanted to be recognized as more professional. They do, after all, get into behaviorism.
Then again, there had to be a time when Timmy just couldn’t be rescued from the well. Think of the trauma!! Tum-tee-tum! Never mind the gender issues of most Lassie “actors” being male and effectively Dames.
Dogs are pack animals and as such tend to reflect the emotions and form of the alpha, which makes anthropomorphism easy. Plus writers are an imaginative folk.
The like of Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty (1945) and James Herbert’s Fluke (1977) – about a father reincarnated into a dog’s body (later dramatized in film 1995) helped cement the non-human “humanity”. And being human we can only express and explain actions and projections in human terms.
We call animals fussy eaters,when there may well be a more practical reason why they won’t eat one product at one specific time. We can’t think like them, so we interpret on our terms: imposing our reasoning upon them as so many nature shows do – purely to humanize the observed behaviour for increased viewing.
Any behaviourist will tell you that the act of the observer either being there or planting cameras for longitudinal studies immediately skews the natural behaviour of an animal, or community of animals.
In short, we are arrogant enough (when not even all humans think alike) to presume all animals have the same thought processes we do, or even as each other – yet how can they: they don’t have the same convoluted motivations or goals?
If a deer could think the same as a wolf – wolves would go very hungry.