Who says that dogs don't have feelings! I fail to see how this action was governed by some desire for food.
Shannon is on her playmat. She sneezed like 4 times in a row. Cole walks up to her, sticks his feet out next to her head in a perfect play-bow, and then lays down next to her and licks her face. He didn't like, swallow her face either - he just kissed her little mouth and nose with tip of his tongue. it was so tender and gentle, he clearly sought out to care for her in some way. At least that is what I make it mean!
It made me all verklempt! Shannon just stared at him in wonderment. I think she's still trying to figure him out LOL.
I bet they will be great. Include them in everything you do with the baby. We told Cole that Shannon was "his baby". He lays on the bed next to us when I feed her. He hasn't invaded her space much at all. Occasionally he will try to get between me and the baby if he wants pets and I have to discipline that...I make him go to the side of us but never between. He seemed to know almost right away what the "pack order" was and that she was above him, so we did not have any trouble there.
Initially he was kind of afraid of her. When I came home from the hospital and went to pet him, he rolled over on his back and he never does that. Her crying was disconcerting for him. Now if she cries he comes and finds me if I'm not right there with a look on his face that says, "Are you going to come and stop that, please?"
When she gets a little older and learns how to throw a frisbee, she'll be his new best friend for life!!!
How cool a story! definitely they have feelings, IMHO. I have seen that in Tal as well. Sounds like you are witnessing the beginning of a really good close relationship. I wouldn't be surprised if Cole and Shannon wind up being best friends and doing everything together!