Here’s an interesting article which posits that dogs, and indeed most non-human animals, lack “episodic memory:”
In defining episodic memory, Endel Tulving argued that it is unique to humans. Experience influences all animals. Most mammals and birds can build complex sets of knowledge or semantic memory. You and I also remember the experience of learning these complex sets of information. Dogs don’t.
In other words, if a dog has a bad day, they’ll forget all about it tomorrow. They have for their patron saint the insouciant Alfred E. Newman: they don’t worry about it.
During Lent, it’s easy to get down on oneself. Rummaging through the dark recesses of my conscience I find plenty of ammunition to hurl at myself which, if I’m not careful, can lead to despair. In this respect at least, I must learn from dogs.
Spiritual progress can only be made when we embrace the lessons of yesterday, but leave yesterday behind. It’s impossible to walk forward when you’re looking back over your shoulder all the time.