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Grandpuppies bring joy to grandparents

For aging seniors without grandchildren, grandpuppies have become a heartwarming substitute, according to a recent report from CNN News.

A grandpuppy is defined by Rebecca Johnson, the director of the Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction at the University of Missouri, as "a canine member of the family that provides unconditional love."

This phenomenon is partly due to the human social ability to imagine that animals have emotions similar to humans.

"The ability to put yourself in another person's shoes is important in a species as social as our. What seems to happen is that we use this tendency to project human mental states into other creatures. It is particularly easy to do this in our pets because we have come to think of them as family members," Harold Herzog, a psychology professor at Western Carolina University, told the news source.

For Dolores and Ralph Corley, who are 86 and 85 years old respectively, it is not uncommon for them to talk to their grandpuppy, Gracie, who lives with their adult child, over Skype.

About 77.5 million household dogs exist in the U.S., with 39 percent of American homes having at least one canine as part of their family, according to the Humane Society. 
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