Shelter Dog Meal Donation Count:

Learn More

“Sympathetic” Dog Copies Owner’s Limp, Wastes Hundreds In Vet Bills

Written by: Molly Weinfurter
Molly Weinfurter is a writer for iHeartDogs, and she’s passionate about helping animals in need. She volunteers for Bailing Out Benji and a local dog rescue.Read more
| Published on January 21, 2021

When our dogs are in pain, we rush to find out what’s wrong. We’d do anything to keep our furry friends happy and safe. So when a Lurcher named Billy started limping, his parents contacted the vet immediately.

But as it turns out, nothing was wrong with Billy. The family spent over $400 just to find out that Billy was mimicking his dad, who recently got crutches. Of course, most people would be mad at this, but instead, the family was amused by how silly and sympathetic their four-legged family member is.

Bill the Lurcher
Image: @billy_limping_lurcher/Instagram

Born to be an Actor

Russell Jones recently got his foot in a plaster cast, which meant he needed crutches to walk. When he walked Billy, he hobbled a bit, and soon enough, Billy followed along. The pup limped with one leg not touching the ground. When Jones first saw this, he immediately grew concerned.

Jones and his wife brought Billy to the vet as quickly as they could. Oddly enough, Billy walked normally at the vet, but Jones didn’t think much of it at the time. Then, after $400 worth of x-rays and tests, the vet concluded that nothing was wrong with Billy. They suspected that he was only copying his dad’s movements, likely showing sympathy for him.

Limping Lurcher
Image: @billy_limping_lurcher/Instagram

Despite the hundreds of dollars lost, the reason behind Billy’s limping was actually heartwarming. So, Jones took a video of Billy in action and shared it in a Lurcher Facebook group.

“Cost me £300 in vet fees and X-rays, nothing wrong just sympathy. Love him,” Jones captioned the video.

Dogs Love to Imitate

This adorable video moved many dog lovers, but others were still skeptical. Some could not believe that a dog would fake a limp. So, some comments urged Jones to get a second opinion on Billy’s health. Jones admitted that he took the pup in for multiple vet visits, but it still seemed that sympathy was the only condition Billy had. And as it turns out, Jones is probably right. Scientists have studied dog behaviors and found out that dogs love to imitate family members.

Lurcher napping
Image: @billy_limping_lurcher/Instagram

Back in 2011, some scientists at the University of Oxford and the University of Vienna discovered that dogs can experience “automatic imitation.” This means that dogs will often copy their humans even if it doesn’t benefit them. Dogs have developed a lot to be trained by humans, so they might exhibit instincts that cause them to mimic humans, especially those they consider the “pack leader.” Certain dogs will also fake injuries to get more attention.

So, while some viewers might be hesitant, it’s probable that Billy is just sympathizing with his dad. After all, when Jones is not around, Billy reportedly runs around the yard happily with no limp at all. Our dogs are looking out for us more than we even realize.

Watch the Adorable Video Here:

Featured Image: @billy_limping_lurcher/Instagram and Screenshot, Russell Jones Facebook

Recent Articles

Interested in learning even more about all things dogs? Get your paws on more great content from iHeartDogs!

Read the Blog