Many of us have heard the saying since childhood: Dogs are man’s best friend. I have no choice but to agree since I am writing this piece as Sheba, my German Rottweiler, snores softly on my gray Chesterfield sofa. (Soleil, my Egyptian Mau, glares from the back of my chair as she reads the title of this article). Turns out, dogs and humans have been friends for a very long time, for good reason, and research can prove it.
A recent study published in the Journal of Archaeological Science found humans may have developed emotional and caring bonds with their dogs around 14,000 years ago, during the Paleolithic era.
The bone remains of a dog found in Bonn-Oberkassel, now a suburb of Germany, showed that its owner cared for it through multiple bouts of illness for weeks. The puppy suffered from distemper, a debilitating viral disease that without intensive care by humans would have resulted in death within days.
These findings suggest that this puppy was a beloved pet, near and dear to its owners’ hearts. Thankfully, due to modern medicine, canine distemper virus is nearly 100 percent preventable because of vaccines.
Fast forward to modern day and we can still appreciate the strong physical and emotional bonds that people share with their pets.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, with nearly 63 percent of households in the United States having a companion animal and nearly 69 million of those animals being dogs, it is no secret that dogs bring us joy.
Studies have found that dogs are good for mental health. They help people become more social and can even help you score a date. Dogs make us appear friendlier, less threatening and more approachable.Their presence brings added benefits of reduced stress, increased quality of life and may even extend longevity.
As a dog lover and owner, I reap the rewards of my furry forever puppy every day. Sheba will be seven years old on March 8. Not only is she my best friend, but I am also hers.
So if you are wondering, yes, there will be a party thrown in her honor.
It seems friendships between dogs and people are here to stay. As stewards of this earth, we are responsible for those who cannot take care of themselves. If you have been blessed to share your life with a dog that brings you joy, please send a picture to be featured in upcoming articles.
Photos can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.