Posted On : 17-02-2015
Dogs are the most popular pet on the planet and it is not surprising that they were the first animal to ever be incorporated into human society, many thousands of years before any other. The latest genetic research has pushed this date back by 6000 years earlier than previously thoughts. Scientists have recently analyzed the mitochondrial DNA of 18 prehistoric wolf- and dog-like animals to show that more than 18,000 years ago, dogs first became best friends of humans in Europe.
Originally early people found dogs useful for a wide range of functions, from tracking, finding, and bringing down game, to warmth on cold nights, cleaning infants in arid environments, and even guarding against supernatural threats.
Even though circumstances for modern families have changed dramatically since those ancient times, today the relationship is as strong as ever with nearly 40% of Australian and 42% of North American households owning at least one dog.
When surveyed, dog owners say the biggest pleasures they get from having a dog in their lives are spending time playing with it, going out with it, feeling its love and affection, and buying it gifts.
It’s great to know that, according to one study, 92% of dog owners feel very satisfied with the relationship and really close to their pets. The same study revealed that walking their dogs regularly was a major part of the enjoyment for about 80% of owners (especially those without small children), and more than half felt having their dog around helped them to meet new friends and create a friendly atmosphere when entertaining. Almost every owner played with their dogs and enjoyed grooming it and 90% of those surveyed believed having a dog was a deterrent to burglars.
Numerous other studies prove that owning a dog can also bring additional benefits to humans that most of us are not even aware of.
In families with children, for example, early regular contact with a dog boosts a child’s immune system and makes them less likely to develop asthma, allergies and other immune disorders later on. Dogs help teach empathy to other creatures and humans and are in many cases the only significant contact children experience of the natural world.
Having a dog to cuddle and provide unconditional love, can furnish emotional and physical comfort that has been shown to reduce stress for all family members.
Taking on the daily tasks of feeding, watering, grooming or exercising a dog has been shown to reduce depression and give people a reason to get up in the morning, someone to live for, and an incentive to take a walk. Being out in the community with a dog encourages social interaction and helps people make friends in their neighbourhood, dispelling feelings of isolation.
Living with a dog places people at lower risk of cardiovascular disease, and owning a dog (or cat) has been shown to significantly improve survival rates from acute life-threatening health challenges such as heart attack. In 2008 it was estimated that pets saved the economy up to $1.5 billion in health expenditure annually in Australia alone.
Yes, having a loving dog to come home to seems to be a panacea for many of the downers of modern life, provided you choose a healthy, happy dog that fits in well with your life.
Its a shame that a lot of people don't put a lot of thought into getting their dog, as choosing the wrong one can be a nightmare experience, the potential pitfalls ranging from chronic illhealth to hard to live with behaviors. The fact that you are reading this shows you are one of the thoughtful people who recognise what a big step adopting a dog or puppy can be. Well, you have come to the right place and I look forward to helping you find a wonderful canine companion who is a perfect fit for you.