Tuesday, September 8, 2015

It's Just A Dog! Really?

Are you a "dog person?" Do you have or have you ever had a special dog?  Are you one of those people who buy special dog treats or dog blankets or toys for your pup?

These pictures are just a few of some special little critters that have touched me.  I have been privileged to have so many in my life...Chihuahua, Great Dane, Airdale, Golden Retriever, Boston Terrier, Yorkie....in one way or another with all their varying personalities, they hold a piece of my heart.

The little girl on the left is Cupcake...my granddaughter's little charmer.  She is full of energy and love and likes nothing better than cuddling with her humans.  She is full of sweetness and kisses!

The little guy below is Buddy, he was my faithful little companion for three years after I rescued him from a less than ideal home situation.  He gave me hours and hours of love and affection in return.

I have actually heard some people say, "I don't like dogs."  Obviously they have never really "known" or "loved" one of these special creatures.

Dogs serve us in so many ways, Therapy Dogs, Emotional Support Animals, Guide Dogs, Service Dogs performing so many tasks for their humans.  From the dogs that follow our soldiers into war zones and save countless lives searching out explosive devices, to the K-9s who serve our Police Forces here in the US, these faithful, loving creatures serve humans in innumerable ways.

I have seen degrees of abuse and neglect of these animals over the years...from those who own them and chain them outside in cold or heat and just feed and water them, but give no love. Why would you want to "own" something you just chain to a tree?  These people create socially isolated, frustrated dogs who frequently bite or injure.  I don't believe that any dog is "born mean."  Just like a child, the puppy must be nurtured and trained.  They must be socialized.

Then there are those who beat and abuse them beyond belief.  I can not even fathom that kind of treatment of these special little creatures.  They are dependent upon our love and attention, and what they give in return is immeasurable!

Japanese researchers recently completed a study which showed in brief that when a dog and an owner gazed into one another's eyes, that the levels of oxytocin (a hormone that causes Japanese researchers found that dogs who trained a long gaze on their owners had elevated levels of oxytocin, a hormone produced in the brain that is associated with nurturing and attachment, similar to the feel-good feedback that bolsters bonding between parent and child. After receiving those long gazes, the owners’ levels of oxytocin increased, too.

The dog’s gaze cues connection and response in the owner, who will reward the dog by gazing, talking and touching, all of which helps solder the two, the researchers said. They suggest that dogs became domesticated in part by adapting to a primary human means of contact: eye-to-eye communication.
Interesting, huh?  For those of us who know how much these "fur babies" give us this isn't at all surprising!

I believe that a child who grows up with the love and companionship of a dog learns responsibility and compassion.  Recent research has also concluded that having a pet somehow makes it less likely for a child to develop allergies.  

I have always had a special bond with my little friends, my fur babies.  They have given me so much in so many ways.  I have had people say "it's just a dog!"  Just a dog? I think not!

They are your faithful friends, who will put their lives on the line to save yours.  They are companions who will comfort you when you cry.  Some lead the blind, others search out bombs and drugs.  Some serve faithfully in the military or with the police and save lives each and every day.

Honestly, if you have a fur baby that lives with you in your home, you will soon discover just how much language they understand, and although they can not talk themselves, they can certainly communicate.

My latest little fur baby is on the left - Rosebud.  She's still a pup, and learning new things every day.  Yep, it is work to teach and train her, but she has already given me immeasurable fun and pleasure.  Her amusing antics and unconditional affection are constants in my daily life.

Just a dog? Not!  They are faithful friends who will help you through the tough times and love you unconditionally.

I have found that I personally am very skeptical of people who say "I hate dogs."  Dogs are very good judges of character, and can "sense" when someone is a danger to their people.  If your dog alerts to someone, be skeptical of that person's character.

So whether you adopt a "rescue" puppy or a "designer" dog, I encourage you to add one of these amazing little creatures to your life! They will give you joy and pleasure beyond measure!


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