Dear Pet Column,
I have a confession. My best friend is a dog. I know the old saying: “Dog is man’s best friend” should not be taken literally but I truly feel it is true for me although I won’t admit it to my people friends. Anyway, where did that saying come from?
Sincerely, Secretly Sharing
Thank you for sharing your secret and trust me in that you are not alone in your pooch pal preferences. The dog has been considered the best friend to people for many years. The earliest written record of this claim being made was by Frederick, King of Prussia (1740-1786) who referred to one of his Italian Greyhounds as his best friend. He received less criticism for this than you would expect for that day and age.
In fact it was not but a few years later that Voltaire wrote into history: “It seems that nature has given the dog to man for his defense and for his pleasure. Of all the animals it is the most faithful, it is the best friend man can have.”
There are many theories as to why the person-canine bond has become thick as thieves over the millennia (there is evidence that this bond is more than a hundred thousand years old), one being that wolves are responsible for our survival in that they actually taught us to hunt and live collectively and interdependently. Prior to our bonding with wolves our species was much more independent and individualistic like chimpanzees and other primates.
In Play Together, Stay Together, Karen London and Patricia McConnell introduce an interesting perspective in that “the type of play we engage in with our dogs is relatively rare in the world of animal behavior…the fact that dogs and humans stay playful as adults is uncommon, and is a significant part of the relationship we share. To some degree, play isn’t what makes our relationship with each other better, play is what creates the relationship in the first place.”
So, maybe the real reason dogs are sacred to us hominoids (and thus dog rescue a viable path toward enlightenment) is because it’s a path where play is not only encouraged but rewarded. Speaking of reward and paths of enlightenment…have I mentioned yet that I am available for adoption here at Second Chance Humane Society?
My name is Jango the Handsome Doberman. I am about 4 years old and my greatest desire is human attention and our love. I am a gentle giant who gets along well with other dogs. I enjoy all things that humans enjoy except for hopscotch – I just can’t get my feet to cooperate in that game. I know some basic training but could use some work on the advanced stuff. Below is my favorite bed time story highlighting again, why you and I would make the best of friends.
It is said that giving up all their belongings and ties, the Pandavas, accompanied by a dog, made their final journey of pilgrimage to the Himalayas. Yudhishthira was the only one to reach the mountain peak in his mortal body, because he was unblemished by sin or untruth. On reaching the top, Indra asked him to abandon the dog before entering the Heaven. But Yudhishthira refused to do so, citing the dog's unflinching loyalty as a reason. It turned out that the dog was his god-father, Dharma. The incident symbolized that dharma follows you till the end.