Culture Student Life

Humans and Dogs: A friendship of mutual love and support 

By Divya Rawat

Humans and dogs have shared a long and special bond, it is believed since the Neolithic period.

A common theme amongst dog owners, that I have interacted with in the dog park and in my neighbourhood, is that dogs help them maintain a routine, force them to go for walks, reduce stress and bring overall enjoyment.

The kids emphasised the playful side of the dogs more, the young adults and those with children emphasised how they complete the family, whereas the elderly emphasised the companionship aspects. All, also, mentioned the joyfulness and unconditional love dogs give.

One of the kids’ reply to my question “who loves you more” said, “my parent love me a lot but my dog loves me more, he is always happy to see me”.

Dogs are known for their loyalty and ability to put a smile on the faces of their owners. Owning a dog, or any pet, is good for you and your family because they help in reducing stress, socialising more, and encourage self-care.

Pets give us a sense of purpose or structure in our life, all these help with emotional, physical and mental well-being. This has been true for one of the owners in my neighbourhood, James, who lost his wife a few years ago. I see him take his dog for a walk every day. His touching words to me were that he would be lost without his dog who keeps him busy, helps him with interacting with others and he does not feel as lonely.

Independent research also confirms the above. A report published in 2011, in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,  said “pets are an enormous mood-booster for all” as they reduce loneliness and isolation.

Lastly, let me tell you a personal anecdote, it is about the influence of dogs on non-dog lovers. My dad did not like dogs but I insisted and we got one, who I named “Trusty”.

My Dad and Trusty. Pictures: Divya Rawat

My dad tried to keep away from Trusty as much as he could and for few months he would avoid him as much as he could, even annoying the dog to prevent him from getting close.

Trusty on the other hand insisted on interaction with him and after two or three months my dad and Trusty started positive interaction. The relationship developed and my dad starting interaction and spending more time with Trusty. In fact he would cuddle and hug Trusty and in his words: “Trusty was the best stress buster.”

Trusty, is no more, he passed away last year, but my dad still talks about him very fondly and often says he was a great addition to the family. He taught Dad to relax and love animals.

Pets can bring positive change as Trusty did my dad, who has better routine which includes a morning walk.

They love us unconditional because they are always happy to see you and greet you every time you come home. The human-animal bond is beneficial to overall human well-being.

Feature image: Dogs make a huge difference to their owners health and happiness. Picture: Blue Bird/CC/Pexels

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