Russell Jones did not know why his dog was limping. However, he was not going to let the dog suffer needlessly. He took his beloved pooch to the vet and paid hundreds of dollars on X-rays and other procedures, only to learn that the dog was not injured. As it turned out, the dog was just imitating Jones’s limp, which he had recently obtained after breaking his leg, so it had to be contained in a plaster cast.

For weeks now, Jones has navigated his world using crutches. Because his dog saw the owner limping, the dog developed a limp out of sympathy so Jones would not have to be the only one doing it. The footage of the pair walking along the sidewalk shows the healthy dog limping in an effort to copy the owner’s injury.

Jones shared the video of his limping dog to Facebook, where it quickly went viral. It has received more than two million views because people are so interested in how this dog developed a limp out of sympathy for his owner. To caption the video, Jones wrote, “Cost me £300 in vet fees and X-rays, nothing wrong just sympathy. Love him.”

The video shows Jones wearing his cast. He navigates the sidewalk with crutches, limping as he goes. The dog mimics the limp perfectly and follows Jones along. The dog keeps watching on the owner to make sure he is all right and follows him closely – all the while limping along with him out of sympathy.

Social media users flooded the video with their comments. The following were a few thoughts shared on Facebook:

“He’s come out in sympathy with you! Speedy recovery to both of you.”

Another wrote, “He’s copying you. That’s brilliant! Though you have my sympathy for the vet’s bill.”

Another person added: “You mean he’s hopping because you are? That’s fantastic!”

“Oh bless him. That is expensive, love. Worth it.”

“Oh my goodness. Bless his heart. Hope you’re not in plaster too long.”

“So funny! Unbelievable, aren’t they just so in tune with us. Bless him.”

Research scientists from the University of Vienna published a study in 2011 that found evidence of “automatic imitation” in dogs. This means that dogs have the potential to imitate their owners even when there is no reward for doing so. They’re simply copying the behavior of their pack leader.

Lead author Friederike Range said: “This suggests that, like humans, dogs are subject to ‘automatic imitation.’ They cannot inhibit online, the tendency to imitate head use and/or paw use.”

Daily Mail readers also shared a slew of comments.

“Omg! This makes me cry so much but also laugh at that adorable dog!!!!!!”

“Dogs are simply the best. Anyone who denies that there is a special relationship between dogs and humans has never loved a dog. And anyone who denies that real love isn’t possible between dogs and humans has never loved a dog.”

“Cats are pretty great too! But dogs are number one. They are selfless loyal beasts!”

What do you think about this footage?

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