Bonding with Our Dogs
Loyal and True...
Our ancestors first forged a bond with mankind's best friend, thousands of years ago, and it continues to flourish in our present day. Dogs offer us assistance, companionship, comfort, and an opportunity for spiritual growth as well.
Dogs Evolved from Wolves
Dogs have been our companions for thousands of years. Before the dawn of civilization, when our early ancestors lived in small bands foraging this land for food and living in makeshift campsites, dogs were at their side helping to protect them and guard their resources. In return for their vigilance, dogs received food and shelter. Yet there was also another bond which grew out of the need to survive and that was one based on affection and trust.
How did this relationship come about where both mutually benefited from each others companionship? Dogs evolved from wolves. Wolves who wandered into campsites seeking food and shelter started becoming more tame which eventually led to the domestic dog.
Today, most of us feel blessed by this remarkable turn of events in our human past. Man's best friend indeed had arrived and we've been continuing a relationship which dates back thousands of years ago to our modern times.
With their loyal dispositions and capacity to show such devotion to us, it is no wonder that we form strong bonds with our canine companions revealing as much affection and devotion for them as they have for us. Dogs are so intuitive. It's as if they can read our hearts and minds; maybe this is why we love them so.
When I look into my dog's eyes, I feel a communion of our souls coming together in a single moment. I feel comforted by his capacity to sense my emotions. He is there for me in times of despair, disappointment, fear, and loneliness; yet he also brings me joy with his zest for life and gestures of caring which makes him such a wonderful friend.
Listen to Your Heart
This poem has particular meaning for me as the message is all about giving serious thought to an important issue before we act hastily and regret those decisions for the remainder of our lives.
Couldn't I See?
How many times when
I looked into your eyes,
I swear you melted my heart...
but being human I gave into rational thought,
often indifference in disguise,
listening to others who in their hearts are unwise.
How we justify so many of our deeds
to cover our insufficiency to those who need.
Couldn't I see how you wanted to be near...
you would curl up under my desk
so devoted you were-
wherever I was you would appear.
When I would come home
could I not see
how you waited to greet me...
a pat on the head
would cause you to spin with joy,
run around with legs tucked under
before dropping at my feet-
where you would fall fast asleep.
But a face unfamiliar
would sound your alarm-
rushing in foolishly at times,
you would act with too much haste.
Couldn't I see
that you were only
trying to protect me.
How you begged me with your eyes not to leave...
they seemed to say "why, what did I do wrong-
to you, I will always belong."
Every day, I regret the loss of you;
couldn't I see the gift I had been given
to be loved so true.
I walked and walked-
didn't sleep that whole night,
waiting to return the next day...
but when I went back to the shelter,
they had given you away.
What happened to you
I never really knew,
choosing to believe that you
somehow would be loved...
despite the doubts that I had.
You taught me so much about love
that you could intuitively understand;
but I, a human being, so superior,
could not comprehend
until the very end...
I'll never be the same
my little friend...
I listened to those who never knew
what it is like to be loved...
I would like to assure all of you, that I didn't listen to others about my dog but instead followed the advise of my own heart. My dog, Ernest, will always be a cherished companion who serves to inspire me in my writing. Ernest had some behavioral problems that with the proper training we worked through together.
The Proper Way to Train Your Pet
Before you adopt or acquire a dog, read books about dogs and their needs to see if you can provide for these and see videos of what is required to teach or train your pet properly. Socializing and training your dog so that he feels comfortable meeting other dogs, people that come to the house, and being separated at times from you or your family are very important. Decide if you have the time to properly rear and housetrain a puppy or if the time that you have is more suited for an older dog. Older dogs at shelters and rescue groups can make wonderful companions as they are already socialized and trained. Sadly, many older dogs who have been given up by their families, are overlooked at shelters and often times, make a better match than a puppy who requires a larger investment of time.
Take into account your living situation as well before you get a dog. If you’re renting, will your landlord allow you to have a dog? Will it cost you an additional amount on your security deposit or monthly rent? Ask your landlord to put his pet agreement in writing so that he can’t renege later on. If he does, then you have legal grounds to take him to court. Unfortunately, this has happened to many renters who then have to either find another loving home for their companion which requires careful screening or help from a local rescue group (who have experienced volunteers to help with screening applicants and also have an adoption agreement which affords the pet better protection and greater assurance of a suitable home) or move to another apartment. Never advertise your pet(s) in a newspaper or an online site such as Craigslist. You’re dealing with an anonymous person that you don’t know anything about and these venues don’t offer any screening services; consequently, your pet can end up in a dangerous or unsafe situation. There are many animals who were given away or even purchased from Craigslist who ended up in situations of horrific abuse and the worst of fates. Puppy Doe is one such example whose short but very tragic end is probably the most widely known case of a young dog who was sold on Craigslist and there have been many other sad cases as well involving both dogs and cats.
Please keep in mind that pets depend on us for love and understanding. They aren't born with a knowledge of what is good behavior and we have to teach them just as we would teach a child. If you have a pet that has a problem behavior, go to the Humane Society of the U.S.(hsus.org) or the ASPCA (aspca.org) websites or petfinder.com on tips and wonderful videos on training your new pet. You can also seek solutions to problems by getting books that show you how to correct a problem or consult with your veterinarian. Don’t use aversive or punitive consequences to a behavior on your pet. Use positive rewards such as treats and praise instead. Using shock collars or physical punishment such as hitting or yelling to correct a pet will only cause your pet to become neurotic and even afraid of you, and is ineffective in teaching your pet desirable behavior. This approach to training is not only harmful to your pet but isn't supported by good dog trainers nor any animal welfare organization.
Adopting or getting a pet should be a lifelong commitment. They are not disposable items and their welfare must be taken seriously. In return for your commitment, they will reciprocate with many years of unconditional love. My life has been enriched by such a devoted friend. Ernest also has helped me to grow as a human being- becoming a more patient and compassionate one with a greater appreciation for all life. Indeed, it would have been a real loss for me to have given up on him. He never gives up on me; he loves me despite all my faults.
How You Can Help Save Dogs' Lives
If you are thinking about getting a dog and are willing to make a lifelong commitment, please consider adopting one from your local animal shelter, animal control facility, or local rescue groups instead of going to a breeder and do not buy one from a pet store nor through the internet. Please go to the Humane Society of the U.S. website to read their good advise on selecting a puppy or dog.
"Despite what they may tell you, most pet stores do sell puppy mill puppies. Unless the store is sourcing animals from local animal shelters helping to place homeless pups, you have to be very careful about pet stores' link to puppy mills.
Many puppy millers pose as small family breeders online and in newspaper and magazine ads. The HSUS has often helped local authorities in the rescue of puppy mill dogs. In almost all cases, the puppy mills sold puppies via the Internet using legitimate-looking ads or websites that made it look like the dogs came from somewhere happy and beautiful, claims that couldn't have been farther from the truth."
The uninformed person helps perpetuate puppy mills or large-scale breeding operations by buying dogs at pet stores. At puppy mills, dogs spend their entire lives in cramped and filthy cages only to churn out litter after litter of puppies for unscrupulous breeders and then disposed of when they no longer can produce. They are denied any freedom outside their cages and are neglected in even the most basic care. Treated more like producing machines than living and feeling beings, many of them develop physical abnormalities due to the cruel conditions they are forced to live in.
Remember that you can save a life by adopting a pet. The tragic consequences of over breeding has produced a surplus pet population which far outnumbers the available homes for them. As many as 9 million pets in the U.S. alone have to be euthanized annually because of this sad situation. Shelters and animal control facilities sometimes receive as many as 50-100 animals daily in addition to those that they already have. Limited in both space and resources they face an overwhelming problem.
By being a responsible pet guardian you can help dramatically reduce these numbers by having your pet spayed or neutered. When you don't breed you aren't adding to the numbers of animals who end up at shelters and are, in fact, helping those already at shelters by increasing their chances of adoption.
Spaying or neutering also has many other benefits for both you and your pets. It's healthier for your pet as it reduces or eliminates the possibility of disease in the reproductive system. It also reduces the urge to roam. This makes it less likely that your pet will be injured in a fight, get lost, or become a victim to cruelty, poison, or traffic. It also makes them better pets as it reduces aggression and destructive behavior. Both you and your pet will be happier, a significant factor in helping to forge a long and most rewarding relationship.
Ode To A Dog
If truth is beauty
and beauty is truth
then who can deny that
you aren't indeed beautiful...
If soul is an inner spirit
which is reflected in the yearning of the eyes
then who can deny that you have a soul...
If friendship is the warmth of a comforting friend
in times of despair, then who can deny
your devout friendship...
If love is the capacity to love unselfishly
with no conditions attached then who can deny
your ability to truly love...
If virtue encompasses faith, devotion, trust,
and the purity of heart,
then are you not virtuous
and can we not learn from you?
If the value of a life be measured
in the endurance of cherished memories
which persist through time,
as a testament of your place in my heart,
then who can deny that your life had purpose.
Favorite Quotes About Dogs
"Dogs are miracles with paws."
"No matter how little money and how few possessions you own, having a dog makes you rich."
Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.
- Mark Twain
"Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful."
"Money will buy you a pretty good dog, but it won't buy the wag of is tail.."
"No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as the dog does."
"When you leave them in the morning, they stick their nose in the door crack and stand there like a portrait until you turn the key eight hours later."
"The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog."
George Graham Vest
"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart."
"To err is human, to forgive canine."
"If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.."
"Nobody can fully understand the meaning of love unless he's owned a dog. A dog can show you more honest affection with a flick of his tail than a man can gather through a lifetime of handshakes."
"Histories are more full of the examples of the fidelity of dogs than of friends."
"Dogs love their friends and bite their enemies, quite unlike people, who are incapable of pure love and always have to mix love and hate."
"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole."
"The bond with a true dog is as lasting as the ties of this earth will ever be."
"One reason a dog can be such a comfort when you're feeling blue is that he doesn't try to find out why."
"Scratch a dog and you'll find a permanent job."
Franklin P. Jones
"Dogs' lives are too short. Their only fault, really."
Agnes Sligh Turnbull
"If dogs could talk, it would take a lot of the fun out of owning one."
"A dog is not "almost human" and I know of no greater insult to the canine race than to describe it as such."
"The more I see of man, the more I like dogs."
Madame de StaÃ«l
"No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as the dog does."
"The average dog is a nicer person than the average person."
"If a dog will not come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience."
"When a dog wants to hang out the "Do Not Disturb" sign, as all of us do now and then, he is regarded as a traitor to his species."
Ramona C. Albert
"A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down."
"[Dogs] are better than human beings, because they know but do not tell."
"To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring - it was peace."
"Near this spot are deposited the remains of one who possessed beauty without vanity, strength without insolence, courage without ferocity, and all the virtues of man, without his vices."
"The dog was created specially for children. He is the god of frolic."
Henry Ward Beecher
"My little dog - a heartbeat at my feet."
"We long for an affection altogether ignorant of our faults. Heaven has accorded this to us in the uncritical canine attachment."
"When a man's best friend is his dog, that dog has a problem."
"I wonder what goes through his mind when he sees us peeing in his water bowl."
Penny Ward Moser
"A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself."
"Our dogs will love and admire the meanest of us, and feed our colossal vanity with their uncritical homage."
"I talk to him when I'm lonesome like; and I'm sure he understands. When he looks at me so attentively, and gently licks my hands; then he rubs his nose on my tailored clothes, but I never say naught thereat. For the good Lord knows I can buy more clothes, but never a friend like that."
W. Dayton Wedgefarth
"If you think dogs can't count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then giving Fido only two of them."
" Dogs laugh, but they laugh with their tails."
"We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It's the best deal man has ever made."
"My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am."
"If you get to thinking you're a person of some influence, try ordering somebody else's dog around."
"They never talk about themselves but listen to you while you talk about yourself, and keep up an appearance of being interested in the conversation."
Jerome K. Jerome
"One reason a dog is such a lovable creature is his tail wags instead of his tongue."