Celebrating The Dog
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I recently finished the excellent book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind and one fact it mentioned really stuck in my mind.
Humans domesticated dogs long before any other animal. Thousands and thousands of years before the other early-adopted livestock like goats, sheep, cats and cattle.
Due to this long-standing cohabitation with our canine companions, we, as humans, are more complete when we have a dog in our lives.
The scientific research is clear on the salubrious effects of dog ownership. Having a dog is statistically connected with a number of health benefits.
A study conducted by J.S.J Odendaal in 2003 showed that when humans pet dogs, their bodies release oxytocin, a hormone associated with not only happiness, but bonding and affection as well. According to the social support theory, animals are a source of social support and companionship, which are necessary for well-being. Canines' social impact on humans is especially significant for those who tend to be more isolated, such as children with no siblings or elderly persons. In this view, the animal is part of our community and is an important determinant for psychological well-being. According to self psychology, an animal can be a "self-object" that gives a sense of cohesion, support, or sustenance to a person's sense of self. Self-psychology explains why some animals are so crucial to a person's sense of self and well-being. Dog companionship often gives people a sense of purpose by causing them to develop a daily routine and giving them something to look forward to each day. Studies also show owning a dog reduces stress and alleviates anxiety.
Additional emotional and social benefits that dogs confer to humans can be found here.
So, in celebration of these furry natural life-enhancers, I invite you to post a photo in the Comments section below of you and one (or more!) of the dogs in your life.
I'll go first. Here's me and Boston, our silver lab and official mascot of Peak Prosperity:
She's a pretty wonderful buddy and integral member of our family. Every day she sits beside me as I type away and take phone calls running PP.com.
And if you don't have a dog in your life, that's completely OK. But perhaps it may be worthwhile to ask yourself if scheduling in a little regular dog time (playing with your neighbor's dog, or perhaps visiting your local dog park) might do you some good?