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In Appreciation of Dogs: 10 Things You Should Know About Man’s Best Friend

By Julie Bond

I appreciate dogs every day, but with April designated as “Dog Appreciation Month,” I figured now is a good time to explore exactly why we do (and should!) appreciate the dogs in our lives.  So here, my dog-loving friends, is a list of 10 things you should know about dogs.

While it is often assumed that dogs are descended from wolves, there were some who theorized that jackals may have been involved as well. Thanks to a better understanding of genetics, we now know that the modern dog, in all of its forms, is descended from the gray wolf alone.

The oldest dog breeds, having representations in Egyptian art and mummified bodies found in tombs, are the Saluki and the Basenji.

Every year on November 6 in Nepal, the people celebrate “Kukur Tihar,” the “Day of the Dog.” This celebration occurs on one day during a week in autumn when observers celebrate the relationships people have with all living things.

The many health benefits of dog ownership deserve a mention!  Dogs can decrease our stress, help relieve our anxiety, and can aid in the treatment of depression. They keep us active, lower our blood pressure, and make us feel safe.  I can’t think of any one thing, other than a dog, that can do all of that.

Dogs are reliable co-workers, showing up on time and ready to do their job. And all without the assistance of caffeine!

 

Thanks to a study conducted on 90 dogs using MRI technology at Emory University by Dr. Gregory Berns, we now have confirmation that dogs love us for us…not just for our snacks.

Dogs may have fewer taste buds than us, but they do have a special organ on their palate that allows them to actually taste food using their sense of smell, something that we obviously cannot do. Thus dogs can differentiate between meat and non-meat items based on taste alone, however, they cannot tell the difference between beef, chicken, fish, or pork without their sense of smell.

Dogs can get sunburned, giving them a greater risk of skin cancer.  Typical places they get burned are ears, noses, and tummies, although light coated dogs may get burned in other places as well.  Dog-safe sunscreen (or a sunshirt) is a must, as is avoiding any product with zinc oxide in it as that is deadly to dogs if ingested.

Dogs don’t do things for no reason. They show purpose, curiosity, and motivation in their actions, and they live in the moment. Good lessons to learn.

While it is assumed that the word “puppy” comes from the French word “poupe′e,” meaning doll, or an object we indulge with attention and affection, linguists are still not 100% certain where the word “dog” originated. They know that the word “hund” was being used for dogs in 16th Century Germany and “dogue” at the same time in France, but the original origin of the word dog remains as one of the great mysteries of English etymology.

The sheer number of dogs in the world (over 900 million), combined with the booming pet retail business which reported earnings in excess of  $72 billion in 2018 in the United States alone, means that it would appear our love affair with dogs is here to stay. And I, for one, am grateful.

Julie Bond

Julie Bond is a voracious reader with eclectic tastes running the gamut from YA lit, to psychological suspense, and anything dog-related, of course. You can find her haunting her favorite San Francisco Bay Area indie bookstores. Email her at ObsessiveBookFanatic@gmail.com

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