Man’s best friend

Benefits of canine companions

Dogs. They’re ubiquitous. “Man’s best friend” we call them. Why? Even their family counterparts – cats – can’t hold a candle to them over the years, as adored house pets.

As children, we were like most families in town. Dogs had special names and came running when we called them. We lived with them; we slept with all five of them at one time or another. They followed us everywhere (except to school) – and that was the problem; over our lifetime they did as they pleased – and unfortunately, since we lived on the corner of a very busy street intersection, all five of them sooner or later were struck and killed by the traffic.

So, we restricted their outside movements, and when we decided to drive 43 miles to our summer cottage, we thought it safe to bring our pet with us – but it was struck and killed leaping from the car into the range of a passing car. That ended owning another dog forever.

Dogs (canis familiaris) were derived from grey wolves perhaps about 30,000 years ago – first found in Germany, not of the modern wolf lineage, but used eventually as hunter gatherers, pulling loads, and as “man’s best friend” and protector.

They were domesticated about 25,000 years ago by northern Siberians, taught more by ‘inference’ than by direct command, and learned more by social rewards than food. At present, a wide variety of species around the world total about 9 million – and growing as their uses increase as ideal companions, and as part of families symbolizing protection, loyalty, faithfulness, and love.

Research has found medical advantages for the existence of dogs. Research reveals that dogs provide longer life for heart attack patients, and even petting one’s own dog could reduce blood pressure. It was also found that interacting with dogs could increase people’s level of the “happiness” hormone oxytocin and as well aids in rapid healing.

Aren’t dogs remarkable?

The later you are, the more excited they are to see you.


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