If murat's explanation about the true meaning of Sentient Life is that of 'Self-Awareness' then I would opt to say 'NO'. We are not the only form of Sentient Life on this planet.
I, as a young kid, simply saw animals as animals. Well, I loved my cat(s). I liked dogs, but to me, cats were cooler. Anyway, as I grew older, I started to see something in animals that truly amazed me. What I saw is the personality of animals come out in ways that we do. Actually, very childlike in nature.
Now, maybe I played it off in my mind as seeing something that was not really there. There could some truth to that. But I will tell you this. Our dogs, as I have witnessed them through the years, have displayed some amazing personality traits and actions.
Could you possibly agree that the Sentient level of a dog (or any other animal) could be evident by the following:
1. A dog that is afraid of storms.
2. A dog that becomes depressed or sickly when it's owner passes away.
3. A whole group of animals, living in one place (of different species), that act out when their owners leave on a trip. And especially seem to know the difference between a person who goes to work and when they go on vacation.
4. An animal that seems to know when you are sad and wishes to help you rid your pain.
5. An animal that is protective of you, and especially a baby, when it senses danger.
6. An animal that immediately knows when it has caused mischief or done something that it shouldn't have.
A. Can we say that an animal, who appears to express feelings of happiness, sadness etc. is just a bit beyond the Pavlov stage.
B. Could it be, that the intensity and frequency at which we relate to an animal tends to do the following.
1. Bring's out an animals sense of being and purpose?
2. Allows us to interpret (understand) the thinking and feelings of a given pet/animal.
Could it be possible that any being, that reacts above instinctual levels, has some, or a great amount, of Self-Awareness?
"A dog or cat may not know what a tax form is, but they surely know when an owner is filling one out, and they definately know more what to do with them than we do! Eat them, Bury them, tear them to shreads, or, well, you know what I'm about to say next"