“His ears were often the first thing to catch my tears.” Elizabeth Barrett Browning referring to her cocker spaniel, Flush.
Dogs have been our companions for thousands of years, starting with the domestication of the European wolf canis lupus. At first wolves were used just as all things were used; as a source of food and clothing from fur. What evolved from that was an animal that could protect the campsite and those within. A beast of burden that could help to carry and pull supplies, and eventually a constant companion who listens to our joys and woes without comment or complaint.
The reasons why humans love dogs so much are many and complex; much of it having to do with evolution. Dogs and human beings have been working together as partners for thousands of years. We have evolved together from the first scavenger wolves who realized that if they hung around the campsite they might receive some scraps of food, to our modern day dogs who can tell us what they want with a look or a shake. It’s also interesting to note that the dogs with the least dependency upon their human companions tend to be the breeds whose DNA most closely resembles that of the wolves from which they descended.
Owning a dog is good for an individual’s health as it has been proven that interacting with a dog can lower blood pressure. Dogs make humans happy with their antics and playfulness, and provide unconditional love. They play psychiatrist when we need to talk and are always ready when we want to go for a walk. They never complain about what’s for dinner and they always clean off their plate. They never complain about going to work and they always do their job well.
Most dog owners will at one time or another look at their lovable dog and wonder, “Do you love me too?” The answer to that question is definitely yes. Scientists have been able to conclude that the part of the human brain associated with positive feelings is much like that of a dog, and it is entirely possible that a dog can form emotional bonds just as humans can.
It’s nice that science can back up what we already intuitively knew; that dogs bond with us just as much as we bond with them. All a person needs to see is that fluffy little pooch going crazy when coming home from work, or that clip of the soldier returning home from war and the Great Dane with both front paws on her shoulders, so happy she is home from duty. Even after years of being apart a dog will recognize their companion and greet that individual as one would and old, dear friend.