​Dog With Human Face Adoption: This Is Tonik, Saved From Kill Shelter

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February 11, 2013
Also: Adoption, Anthropomorphism, ASPCA, Dog, Dog With Human Face Adoption, Face, Human

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Have you ever seen a dog with a human face? Well, meet Tonik, who is up for adoption after he was rescued from a kill shelter by people who were fascinated with his appearance.

You just might think the photo of this dog is fake, or from photoshop, but it’s real.

Although the web is nirvana for strange looking animals, this time, all the attention will hopefully do some good: Tonik is in need of a new home.

The two-year-old dog is a poodle/Shih Tzu mix currently living in Mishawaka, Ind., and was brought to an animal welfare agency out of a kill shelter in Kentucky. His portrait, snapped by professional pet photographer Renny Mills first surfaced on Tumblr and went viral after a post on Buzzfeed.

Tonik’s Petfinder adoption page describes the wise-looking pup as “a very sweet boy” who is great with other dogs but could be overwhelmed by young children.

But how, exactly, did Tonik’s face get so … human-like? Well, it’s true that humans and dogs do share some genes: our two species likely have a common ancestor dating back to the Cretaceous era. And it’s also true that Shih Tzus have been bred for their flat faces (many Shih Tzus have trouble breathing because of this). But Tonik’s humanoid visage has much less to do with canine physiology than it does with human psychology.

Anthropomorphism, the tendency to ascribe human traits to animals and objects, was first described by the traveling Greek poet Xenophanes of Colophon, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

Xenophanes, who lived in the 5th and 6th century BC, criticized the polytheism of his contemporaries, noting that Ethiopians described their gods as snub-nosed and black, while the Thracians described theirs as blue-eyed and red-haired. If horses and oxen could draw pictures, Xenophanes scoffed, they would draw deities that resemble horses and oxen.

It’s totally horrible that any animals — whether they have human faces or not — have to die because nobody wants them.

Between 5 million to 7 million cats, dogs, and other pets enter animal shelters nationwide each year, and approximately 3 million to 4 million of them are euthanized, according to the ASPCA.

We all hope this dog finds a new home.