Humans and dogs have had a long shared history. Many anthropologists believe that man could never have evolved as they have without dogs. One theory suggests that Homo sapiens utilized dogs in their lives and the Neanderthals did not. Many anthropologists believe that the powerful Neanderthals lost the evolutionary race for this reason. If not for dogs, we might not even be here.
There is considerable evidence that dogs enrich our lives in many ways, including our health. Dogs lower our blood pressure, heart rates and stress levels just by their presence. Children that grow up with a dog around have less allergies, less asthma and less eczema. Dogs are also a protective and consoling influence for children. Therapeutic dogs are utilized in Nursing homes, hospitals, day care settings and more recently in prisons.
In the twenty seven years that my wife and I have been together we have had several wonderful dogs. Our first dog together was a large red Doberman, Buckwheat. Buckwheat was fun loving and despite our best efforts, un-trainable with the limited dog skills that we had at the time. Though she was very large, Buckwheat loved to get up on my wife's lap or to fall asleep on her. Upon hearing something outside one day, she jumped through the glass window in the kitchen door somehow uninjured. Once, while riding in my truck, she jumped out the window at about twenty miles an hour, skinning her chin and playfully wobbling to her feet. In spite of her intellectual limitations she was loveable and a big bundle of fun.
Luka, a golden eyed Chesapeake Bay retriever was our next dog. Even as a puppy, she was a protective presence in our home. As an older dog she became very protective of my wife. I began to notice that she would always put herself between a visitor and my wife. She was always at my wife's feet.
When Luka was stricken with painful, malignant cancer in old age, my wife decided that because Luka had shown her such devotion, she would bring her to the vet to stop her pain. That was a sad and difficult day for my wife and our family; we had truly lost a member of our family. We still think of Luka and have Luka's picture in a privileged position in our home.
About five years ago, two Golden retrievers, Jazz and Rooney came into our lives. Rooney is a cinnamon-colored pretty-boy; always the poser with his forever puppy face. Jazz, lighter in color is the wise dog. Jazz has those sad, loving eyes that compel you to get down on one knee to hug her. If you ever have the good fortune to meet Jazz, she will welcome you and sit close to you so you can enjoy her loving energy.
Dogs don't hold grudges, are blind to color and don't care how important you are. The world would certainly be a better place we all acted more like dogs. Depending on your perspective, Jazz does have one unsettling behavior; she is a butt-sniffer. Given some of the people that I've known over the years, if their worst offense was butt-sniffing, they would rise in stature by good measure Remember all kids count.
Scot Hurlburt can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org