Why People Love Their Dogs

Dog Is God Spelled Backwards.

“If I could be half the person my dog is, I’d be twice the human I am.”
— Charles Yu

People clearly love their dogs and other pets with a passion that goes right to their souls. Why are folks so enamored with these furry creatures? Some say they adore their pups because they warm their hearts and are always loyal. Others feel safer with dogs around or that dogs can make even the saddest person smile. From their little wet noses to the tip of their furry tails, dogs are essentially 100% companion and friend.

Petting a dog also releases certain “feel good” hormones in humans, such as serotonin, oxytocin, and prolactin. Oxytocin is actually the same hormone that binds parents to their newborn infants. When these “fur babies” stare at us with their soulful brown or sparkling blue eyes, they stir our hormones and loving emotions. They also lower our cholesterol and stress levels and boost self-esteem. Service or therapy dogs can help people with autism and post-traumatic stress disorder. Some can even anticipate certain physical events, such as epileptic seizures, and warn their companions ahead of time.

No wonder so many people travel with their pets. Regardless how wonderful the trip, it’s still stressful to be away from familiar territory. Bringing your faithful companion is like taking a piece of home with you as you head towards the unknown.

Dogs seem to understand us better than any other animal (or human, for that matter). Like people, dogs gravitate towards their favorite someone. From birth to six months, their brains are most receptive. They will usually form the strongest bond with their primary caregiver or whoever gives them the most physical and emotional attention. Certain breeds, like certain people, tend to form closer bonds with a single person, while others readily show affection to a variety of people.

Whether you dress them in fancy sweaters or let them parade around au naturel, their loving licks and wagging tails make us feel more wanted in a world where unconditional love can be hard to find.

 

by Lori Berezin
Photography by Alexander Yellen, styling by Kelli McNeil, model is Bogie the Westie, taken in Butchart Gardens in Victoria BC.