But in the case of Sereno the horse, it’s difficult not to believe he’s experiencing emotion at his owners' passing.
Sereno looked to be crying at the funeral of his owner, Wagner de Lima Figueiredo, who died aged 34 in a motorcycle accident.
Sereno appeared to whine loudly in distress and shake his head as a pall-bearer recited a eulogy. He also laid his head on the coffin as it was carried past.
Francielio Limiera, a family friend of Figueiredo, told the Daily Mail:
It was an unbelievable thing to see the way the horse behaved. If I hadn't been there I wouldn't have believed it myself.
As we brought the coffin out at the beginning of the funeral, (Sereno) sounded like he was crying and as if he recognised that his owner was finally leaving him. He pounded the ground with his hooves and kept on whinnying. It was very sad.
Friends said Sereno was Figueiredo’s life, and would even sacrifice buying things for himself to make sure she had enough food.