I've been quite a bit behind in my blogging because of a large scale website I've been trying to finish. Today, I'd like to announce a special guest post by Rupert Brown of Muddy Paws in the United Kingdom. Enjoy!
The Power of Dogs as Human Companions
It's long been said that man's best friend is his dog. Loyal, loving and with unquestioning trust, a dog's relationship with its owner is like no other. While cats can be aloof and independent, a dog is affectionate and dependent. Cats don't care whether their owner is there, but dogs crave the company of their master.
It's little wonder that dogs make such devoted companions for humans; their unwavering faithfulness and intelligence prompts them to fulfill many different roles: guard dog, babysitter, protector, friend, rescuer, playmate, servant, guide dog, worker and soothing presence, to name but a few.
Here are some examples where dogs have become more than simply an adored pet:
The confidence booster
Seven-year old Owen Hoskins sufferers from a rare genetic condition that has him confined to a wheelchair. He was shy and felt like the odd one out. Then 'disabled' dog, Haatchi came into his life. Haatchi lost a leg in an attack with another dog, but immediately connected with Owen. The two have been inseparable ever since. The little boy became more confident as a result of this new-found friendship and says he feels stronger. His parents told huffingtonpost.com that the courageous dog has turned their formerly withdrawn son's life around.
Adopted German Shepherd, Bear learned to tell his owner Debbie when she needed to take medicine for the seizures she had been suffering from for 18 years. When Bear leaned on her legs, Debbie would know she should prevent an attack by taking her medication. On the one occasion that she ignored Bear's guidance, Debbie had a seizure and fell down the stairs, blacking out. Bear immediately sought help, barking for a neighbor, then found an animal control officer who came for help and called an ambulance, saving Debbie's life. This and eleven similar stories appear in the Niagara Falls Reporter.
Dogs are often used in therapy for children, making hospital visits to cheer up the most discouraged young patients. At a hospital in Quito, it was discovered that playing with dogs Juci and Lancelot raised the children's adrenaline levels and consequently boosted their resistance to the side affects associated with chemotherapy. As a result, fewer children need to stay overnight when receiving treatment. According to a volunteer hospital dog handler, Veronica Pardo, the dogs 'infuse children with life'.
In 2011, American Navy Seal Jon Tumilson was killed in action by Afghan Forces, paperblog reports. A photograph of the hero's funeral 'went viral' after it was posted online. Why? Because it featured the forlorn image of the soldier's Labrador Retriever, Hawkeye. He is seen laying under the coffin grieving for his master. It's both one of the saddest and most touching examples of a dog's devotion.
These are just a handful of stories in which dogs have exceeded expectations and become a friend, counsellor to those that need their companionship the most. What's probably one of the biggest factors is that dogs don't discriminate. They don't shy away from someone who is different, or avoid an uncomfortable situation. They only love and want to be loved in return. That's the power of dogs as human companions.
What's a story of dog and human companionship that has warmed your heart? Please share below.