Monday, 17 June 2013

A Man's Best Friend!

The animal that we have the privilege to call our best friend did not always hold this position. The history of the man/dog relationship is somewhat cloudy and whether man domesticated dog or dog domesticated man is unknown.

The Victorian period was responsible for the defined breeds that we know today as they undertook severe inbreeding programs to enhance certain characteristics that they deemed desirable. This period gave us the relationship that we have with dogs today, where they are our unconditional companions.

As dog owners we take for granted that we can point to a ball or toy, and the dog will bound off to get it. The ability of dogs to read human gestures is remarkable! Not even our closest relatives - chimpanzee and bonobos - cannot read our gestures as readily as dogs. Dogs are remarkably similar to human babies in the way they pay attention to us. This ability accounts for the extraordinary communication we have with our dogs. Some dogs are so attuned to their owners that they can read a gesture as subtle as a change in eye direction. Is it any wonder we call these animals our 'fur babies'.

We keep ourselves fit through walking our dogs, they lower our heart rate, our blood pressure, our stress levels. But, Florence Nightingale was the first to recognize that a dog was a worthy companion for the sick. Their therapeutic worth today is well documented. Their presence in nursing homes, children's wards is invaluable in initiating positive outcomes in healing, mental well being and sense of purpose. Guide dogs were first used during World war 1 when they were introduced to help wounded soldiers. Whilst guide dogs for the blind are restricted to certain breeds, other breeds have since been used as support dogs for the hearing impaired, seizure alert dogs and dogs for the disabled. These loyal and faithful dogs change the lives of their owners by improving their life quality, instilling confidence and improving their self esteem.

In a relatively short period of time we have learnt that dogs provide us sport and entertainment, companionship, security and well being. They are highly efficient as service dogs to the disabled . They serve the police and military, showing enormous courage in war zones. they rescue people from mountains, earthquakes, and from drowning. They are educators to children and comfort to the elderly. They assist medical science to detect seizures, diabetic hypos etc. These beautiful animals have cemented their place in our lives. They are truly worthy of our trust and love.

To make sure that the special dog in your life is warm this winter, we at WinC have these gorgeous polar fleece or coral fleece coats for him/her. They are warm, easy to wear and easy to care for. When we said we wanted to wrap the world, we were not kidding. So wrap your dog this winter and keep him/her warm.

"There is no friendship on this planet as intense, profound, and finally mysterious as that between dogs and humans" (Masson)

We wish to acknowledge 'The London Dog Forum'  - A potted history of man's relationship with the dog. 
                                         'National Geographic' March 2013

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