In ancient times cats were worshiped as gods; they have not forgotten this. However, in the meantime, dogs have caught up. The number of dogs — fluffy and cuddly, large and huggable — continues to grow. We love ’em, only lets get something straight. They have found a way to own their owners.
Maybe it starts with their face. I’ve seen dogs whose faces are prettier than most of the people I know. They call it the ‘infant schema’ in which the high forehead, big eyes, short snout and floppy ears have evolved to take advantage of human’s innate responses. If you insist on a scientific explication then you begin with Oxytocin, the body’s natural stress reducer. Being around our puppies spikes our Oxytocin. We just feel better with a pet. In fact so much better that there is now an entire cottage industry around the notion of Therapy Dogs. You often find them in senior homes roaming the rooms where their canine presence leaves a happy trail of heightened Oxytocin.
Personally though, I’d prefer to talk about this man-dog love affair without reference to such antiseptic factors as our body chemicals. I mean, really now, does modern biology insist on reducing even our most human emotions like love to a lab experiment…?
Now here’s something about your pup you may not know, but if you’re a guy, your chances of getting the girl’s phone number are twice as good if you meet her walking your dog. Don’t ask me why, but I sorta think a man with a dog is a man with a heart and women respond accordingly. Maybe not like Leona Godzilla Helmsley who left her entire fortune to her dog rather than any humsn family member, but you get the idea.
Close to 100% of dog owners talk to their dog; 81% view their dogs as a member of the family;and a whole bunch of them sleep with their dog in their bed. Even though our dogs are genetically still 98% wolf, unlike wolves, dogs can and do look us in the eyes. When they do that — well, game’s over, now they own the owner!
Final question: were these wondrous stress-reducing, love-enhancing creatures designed this way or are they simply another evolutionary accident. I think I know what most biologists will tell us, but damn I hate to think they’re right. Because if they are, then when I hug Maggie or Popey, I’m just doing it for a little squeeze of some more Oxytocin. That simply can’t be the whole story! Right…?
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