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Man’s Best Friend: How Dogs Sense & Heal Human Emotion

When we ask each other which animal is considered man’s best friend, the answer is invariably the dog. Of course, there are other furry friends whom we have domesticated and are similarly loved companions such as cats, rabbits, guinea pigs and budgies, but when it comes down to it, our canine friends are widely known as the most loyal and loving of all.

But why is this?

Why Are Dogs Man’s Best Friend?

Somewhere between 20,000 years and 100,000 years ago, several wolves broke off from their pack and came sniffing around the caves of our ancestors, hoping to find a scrap of meat. An odd partnership sprang from this; the humans and these curious wolves developed an unspoken agreement when they realized that each had something to gain from the other. Humans realized that wolves, with their keen sense of hearing and sharp teeth, could help them hunt prey, as well as herd their flocks and protect their children when they went out hunting and gathering.

In return, the wolves would receive shelter and a reliable food source every day. In time, these wolves broke off entirely from the wild wolves and this partnership lasted and evolved for thousands of years, morphing into the domesticated dog that today has a special place in millions of homes throughout the world.

The bond between humans and dogs is one we do not share with any other creature in the animal kingdom and this is precisely because of the agreement our ancestors forged thousands of years ago.

Since that fateful day, the once wild wolf has evolved into the cuddly, loving breeds of dogs we know today. While modern dog breeds may come in all shapes and sizes, there is one thing that they all have in common: their unconditional love for humans (and bacon).

Why Are Dogs Great Support Animals?

Providing love and companionship for millions of people across the world, herding our cattle, working with our police, finding survivors in rubble, guiding the blind and deaf, fighting in our armies, supporting those with PTSD, and catching poachers are just some things dogs do for us.

But why dogs? Why would you not choose a cat to herd cattle or a rabbit to sniff out robbers with the police? Why a dog to guide the blind and not a goat? Naturally, this is because of the close bond we have developed with them for thousands of years, but there is something else: dogs are extremely perceptive to human emotions.

Lots of dog owners believe their dogs can pick up on their emotions, but scientists have proven that dogs really can understand our moods. In this article, a team of animal behaviour experts from the UK and Brazil conducted an experiment to see how well dogs could recognize both negative and positive emotions. It turned out they could do so quite easily, which informs us that dogs have an internal system that gives them the ability to understand different emotional states.

Not only can dogs sense our emotions, but they also have the ability to heal us.

This is why dogs are often requested or assigned as support companions for people with PTSD, depression, and other troubles that humans suffer from. The effect that these furry friends have on our mood is easily proved: Spend time with a dog and watch your mood light up!

Dogs naturally have a very loving and caring energy and, what’s more, they want you to be happy! Their healing powers come from an innate desire to make us happy. If you are crying, a dog will lick your face and stay with you until you feel better; if you are moody, your dog may bark at you – which is their way of asking you what is wrong. If you are laughing, your dog may bark too, as they are laughing along with you. One thing is for certain – dogs are the empaths of the animal kingdom.

Your feelings are theirs, just as your pain is theirs. In this respect, the dog will do everything possible to heal you when you are struggling or in pain, simply through the power of their unconditional love

The Rub:

In some countries, the treatment of dogs is particularly brutal, where incidents such as the Yulin Dog Meat Festival in China provoke international outcry and internal anger. Across the Far-Eastern continent, millions of dogs are stolen and subjected to unimaginable cruelty; The saddest part is that most of these are pets taken from their owners. To do this to any animal is horrific; but to do it to a dog is one of the greatest betrayals inflicted upon our furry friends, especially when you understand that their very existence is based around loving, serving, and protecting Mankind,

Many people across the world are working hard to implement animal welfare laws that do not exist in China and South East Asia. As a society, we should support these groups in their process in any way that we can. We need to advocate for our furry companions who can not speak for themselves. Spread the word, share on social media, support fundraising efforts and rescue operations, any bit helps.

In Conclusion…

Dogs are family, friends, warriors, nurturers, protectors, healers and workers; they give us much, but ask for little in return – only that we protect and care for them in the same way our ancestors did many years ago. All animals are precious and deserve love and care from humans as fellow inhabitants of the earth; as the most intelligent species, we have a duty to ensure that all animals are treated with dignity and respect.

But thanks to the unwavering bond forged by our ancestors when the first wolf came sniffing around their cave all that time ago and the subsequent loyalty, friendship, and service that followed for centuries down the line, dogs truly have earned the title ‘Man’s Best Friend’. A dog will nurture us, heal us, comfort us, and assist us. Above all, they would give their lives to protect us; it is surely only right that we should do the same for them in return.

Related Article: Pet Therapy: The Ultimate Healing Power

Sarah Brownlee

Sarah Brownlee

Having worked as a teacher, a bartender, and even a private investigator, writing was something Sarah Brownlee just fell into, even though it had been her passion since she was a little girl. To date, she has written and published 3 Children and Young Adult fiction novels, ghostwritten for others, and... Read More

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