Bliss is the result of a silent conversation between me and my dog.
- Author Unknown
To be in a successful relationship with another being, we need connection, involvement, friendship, companionship, and association.
The dog is labeled as man’s best friend because it offers us all of the above, plus loyalty and unconditional love. So how and why has this amazing relationship developed?
Humans and dogs are social creatures, so are able to entertain one another. They join together in exercise and in relaxation, they love to have fun, play with toys and balls, enjoy food, and comfort us in times of stress, pain and joy. Humans and dogs genuinely love each other.
The dog is a pack animal and is very protective and loyal to his/her pack family and a dog will forgive his/her master for anything without any judgment whatsoever.
Dogs can understand human speech, especially if it features words of praise. They make eye contact to bond, just like us humans.
The relationship with a dog can be one of companion, of a friend, of protector, of detective, of guardian as well as a substitute aid for the loss of many of our senses, like sight, hearing, smell, and touch.
We rely on dogs to hear the approach of danger, to sniff out the scent of another animal or prey. They can find a lost object or we may also rely on their intuition to warn us against an unkind or dangerous offender.
A dog can be our motivator to exercise, a reason to get out of bed, or the joy and comfort of a warm body to cuddle up to when we feel cold.
A study was also performed and found that the act of stroking a calm and loving pet can lower our blood pressure.
There are many remarkable stories of loyalty, love, and courage of dogs.
I was reminded of one of these stories on a recent trip to Japan.
The story of a dog named Hachi-ko.
In 1924 Hachi-ko’s owner, a well-known Professor from Tokyo University suffered a stroke and died at work. Every afternoon, at 4 o’clock, Hachi Ko would go to the train station to meet his master and walk him home. That afternoon, the Professor did not come off the train.
For nine years, every afternoon, Hachi-ko would go to the station and watch the commuters disembark from the 4 o’clock train, looking for his master.
As the years passed the people of the area commissioned a bronze sculpture of this dog when he was still alive and erected it at the spot where he would sit and wait.
Today, it is still a famous tourist spot in Tokyo. What loyalty.
Helen Keller, the famous deaf and blind author, was so moved by the story of Hachi-ko when she visited Japan in 1937 that she said she wanted a dog like him.
She was presented with an Akita puppy and she called him “Kami” (short for Kamikaze-Go, which means “divine wind”).
She wrote, “If there was ever an angel in fur, it was Kami.”
She claimed that the dog had figured out, very quickly that she was blind and never got underfoot.
There are thousands of stories of the bravery and loyalty of rescue dogs, of police dogs, of farmers’ dogs and of dogs who have saved children from drowning and dogs who have protected lost children. Dogs who have alerted the family when a fire starts in the house. So many stories.
For the individual, dogs are such great listeners and the best way to comfort someone is to listen. Dogs are the best therapists.
I read somewhere “can’t remember where”, that the Aborigines say: “Dogs make people human.”
One of my favourite sayings by Sai Baba is:
We are three people: The person we think we are, the person others think we are, and the person we really are.
Lord, help me to be the person my dog thinks I am.