Man’s best friend……literally!!!
About 15,000 years of friendship between man and dog have helped man’s best friend to develop unique ways of understanding humans: abilities that still are somewhat mysterious to scientists and dog lovers.
Dog lovers have always known it, but now science seems to be lending weight to the idea that our canine best friends emphasize with us when we are sad. In fact, research suggests that dogs may respond more to our emotions than anyone other species – and that includes other humans.
Eighteen pet dogs, spanning a range of ages and breeds, were exposed to four separate 20-second experimental conditions in which either the dog’s owner or an unfamiliar person pretended to cry, hummed in an odd manner, or carried out a casual conversation. Significantly more dogs looked at, approached and touched the humans as they were crying as opposed to humming, and no dogs responded during talking. The majority of dogs in the study responded to the crying person in a submissive manner consistent with empathic concern and comfort-offering.
If you would ask the owner of a dog why he thought his dog was his best friend there would be many different replies…..some of the as below….
- “My dog is loyal. I can trust him more than I can trust some humans.”
- “My dog has unconditional love. He is right by my side no matter what.”
- “My dog is a great companion. He never complains of having a headache when I want to spend time with him.
- “I can make my dog laugh without having to struggle through a joke that is not even funny. And my dog makes me laugh.”
- “I contribute much of my good health to my dog. I am forced to take him on long walks. That means while I am exercising him, I am getting exercise myself. My dog keeps me active.”
- “My dog never fails to greet me when I come home. No matter how hard my day has been, he makes me I feel more relaxed and less stressed.”
Reports have been given that if a person owns a dog, he will be able to maintain a healthier life. He will be able to relax, cope with stress and have a lower cholesterol level and lower blood pressure. Having a dog lessen the number of heart attacks among dog owners and prolong their life expectancy. Dogs have been known to comfort terminally ill patients. Dogs are used in therapy for Alzheimer’s disease and in clinical settings as comfort for the terminally ill.
In the case of depression, the dog is trained to respond to the different moods of the patient. For instance, if the owner is sad or in tears, the dog knows to cuddle, lick away the tears, bring tissue, and initiate a game or other form of play. If the owner is stuck in a mood of apathy, the dog resorts to physical stimulation by trying to get the owner to pet or play. Depression is not the only psychiatric problem in which dogs can help people cope. Dogs are trained to help treat social phobia, post traumatic stress, schizophrenia, and obsessive compulsive disorder among other things.
It’s a proven fact that people around dogs tend to be calmer, more relaxed and softer. They smile more often and are happier. For these and many other reasons, therapy dogs are now widely used in nursing homes and psychiatric clinics.
I’m not an expert, but my parents kept dogs most of their life and I have too kept two dogs one, a huge and muscular Doberman when I was in Indonesia whilst on the second occasion it was a more subtle natured Labrador in Bangalore and hence my experiences on dogs. They are faithful companions, loyal, affectionate, easy and inexpensive to get and keep. They ask very little in return other than good food, water, and a comfortable place to sleep though on the same note they are an equal responsibility on your hands. To take them to the vet, to ensure they are well groomed, taken out for regular walks is all a part of the job and I have felt that they demand no less attention from you as any other family member….in fact that become so much a part of you that you do feel them to be another member of the family.
I’d say that just looking at my dog made me feel better no matter what. When I looked straight into his eyes I caved in every time, especially when he combined the look with the head tilt…..and my dog knew it worked, all the time.