This is Sugarplum, one of the dogs of the Sodapup family. She was adopted from the Longmont Humane Society in Longmont, CO.
When I walk into my bedroom and see this on the bed, I cannot stop from touching her. I go over to pet her and kiss her multiple times in my favorite dog kissing spot, right between the eye and the ear, the spot I suppose is a dog’s temple. I kiss her here many times. And sometimes I put my chin on the bone by that spot too.
She’s so cute, all sleepy and doe-eyed, it makes me clench my teeth together and my impulse is to squeeze her head. Hard. I say to her, “I want to squeeze you until you squeal.” Please keep in mind, I DON’T make her squeal, I’d just like to. I’ve often thought this was a little weird and my family makes a wide berth around me when I express these desires to squeeze the dog’s head. What I don’t tell my kids is I had the same feelings when they were little. Wanting to squeeze their heads, pinch their plump little feed and hands. And don’t we say about cute babies or creatures things like, I could just eat you up? And don’t we pinch cheeks?
Well, turns out I’m not so weird. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say I’m not alone in this weirdness. Studies on “cute aggression” are now showing this is a natural response to overwhelming cuteness.
When people in one study were shown pictures of cute animals, areas of the brain associated with emotion and with reward were activated. It seems that when these two systems are both highly stimulated, it can be overwhelming. In an attempt to damp down the extreme feelings, cute aggression arises—or so theorize the researchers. Whatever the case, I’m just glad to know I’m not alone.