Why own a dog ?
THAT'S really a good question. Why should one own a dog? Why do you need it? Why take on another responsibility, another mouth to feed, another complication, another source of concern, another burden? Life is complex enough, why add another element to an already overtaxed situation? A dog may create spots on your carpeting, possibly tear your drapes, chew your furniture, scratch up your woodwork, ruin your lawn, disrupt your peace and quiet, and occasionally cause friction with your neighbors. So who needs that? Or what about those sudden urgent outings in the midst of a blizzard or late at night -when you would rather go directly to sleep or at ten in the morning when you intended to sleep until noon? All those expenses too-vet, license, shots, stitches after a dog fight, X-rays for that swallowed bone, kennel fees, while you're away-and on and on. Who needs it? What about all the extra work-brushing, bathing, feeding, and walking? Non-dog owners ask these kinds of questions and they do so in all sincerity for they truly cannot understand the whole bit.
We, who keep and love dogs, often merely smile knowingly and don't try to refute such arguments. Others, who are patient and understanding, may try to explain to the non-believer what we, in the dog fancy, know so well: that the love and companionship of a dog is one of the truly satisfying, rewarding, enjoyable, enriching, fulfilling, and unforgettable relationships one can have in life. Picture what a marvelous experience it is to be always welcomed by an excited, loving, tail-wagging friend. It's incredibly emotionally uplifting to be greeted with such warmth and love when returning home from the alien outside world. What a rare situation to have someone give you lifelong, non-diminishing, unaltered love; with so little demanded in return. Once a dog's confidence and affection is won, it is for life. The loyalty dogs display is quite remarkable. Innumerable stories have been told which illustrate the tremendous loyalty and love of dogs. We know of dogs who traveled hundreds of miles to find their master, or those who sacrificed their lives to remain with or to rescue their master. The news media regularly recounts tales of dog heroism-rescuing a drowning person, saving someone from a flaming building, warning of danger and attacking an intruder.
In this highly computerized, mechanized, data processed, and impersonal world, there is a comforting sensation in sharing your abode with something that is still very natural. This need felt by modern man has resulted in the tremendous growth of pet ownership. Man apparently needs and appreciates this type of relationship- providing for an animal's existence in return for its love. The animal-pet which is capable of actually offering the most in return is the dog.
Dogs have been man's companion and helper since ancient times. Art and literature testifies to this fact. Through the ages, dogs have remained with man during good times as well as bad. Dogs were the first domesticated animals and originally won man over by proving their usefulness. Scientists believe that dogs served first as scavengers, thus keeping their masters' camping site clean. Later, they proved themselves by herding, being beasts of burden, and assistants in hunting. Even today, numerous breeds of dogs serve man. Yet most dogs, even though they may have a definite working role, will also be a faithful companion to the one they serve.
Love, loyalty, companionship are the basic ingredients in the man-dog relationship, as well as the dog's unquestioning subservience. When you have your dog at your side you need never feel alone. In fact, this truth is being more fully realized today than ever before. Many institutions have come to realize the positive value of dogs and have begun utilizing them for therapy. Institutions for the mentally disturbed have discovered the beneficial aspects of dogs through controlled experiments and found that their patients responded well to these pets. Some psychiatrists are using animals, dogs in particular, in working with disturbed children. Senior citizens find tremendous comfort in their dogs and some keep going because of them.
Probably the only real disappointment experienced by the dog owner is the loss of this close, beloved companion. Since the dog's life span is shorter, man outlives his canine friend. However, since replacement is quite easy, this loss can become the opportunity for making a new relationship. Each animal is unique in its own way, but yet they can all provide the love and companionship, fun and frolic, that we all desire.
In today's crime ridden society, dog ownership is growing because people wish to use them as a deterrent. Research has shown that a large dog, for example, will do a good job of guarding since its presence alone scares off undesirable characters. Even a small dog can serve a valuable guarding function by merely being alert enough to bark at an intruder, since noise will often discourage them.
Why own a dog? Has the question been answered? Perhaps words cannot truly explain this phenomenon. But, if you are willing to take some chances, overlook some little "accidents," devote a little time and effort, you will be amazed by the rewards to be reaped.