Assumption is present where empathy ends. To assume means you are looking inward at your own experiences and not at whatever you should be considering. In the case of a dog, to assume the reason for a behavior without observing it in some way and taking a history so that you can empathize and analyze is an exercise in willful ignorance. If labels and constructs are the first thing to come to mind when considering a quandary then your ignorance is showing.
When you give a gift to a pet, you are not giving a material object, you are providing a ticket to an experience between pet and owner. A moment in time that bonds two souls. You are giving them memories that will be cherished for a lifetime. That is an amazingly powerful gift that can cost as little as a few dollars.