Dogs Deserve Better
Scientists have long believed that ancient humans domesticated wild wolves, offering them food in return for their hunting abilities. Now they’re backing a different theory, one in which friendly wolves approached us first. This theory is a testament to the love that modern dogs show to humans today, but despite their unconditional love for us, we don’t always treat dogs right in return.
The Dog Trade
One of the most common ways to adopt a dog is also a deceptive one. People will often walk past the window of a pet shop with adorable puppies on display. They find that they can’t resist and decide to adopt a puppy on the spot, but these small shops are not always what they seem.
Pet shops typically get their animals from puppy mills, 10,000 of which the ASPCA estimates are being operated in the U.S. These cruel breeders deprive dogs of adequate space, veterinary care and socialisation that can set these puppies up for a life of anxiety and health problems. Worse yet, they spend days being shipped across the country in trucks with minimal safety requirements. This process is unnatural and damaging for the dogs’ futures.
There are countless cases of caretakers not providing their pets with appropriate food, water, and shelter. Many people think that they can just leave their dogs chained up when they aren’t around, but this form of neglect can have fatal and legal consequences. Chained dogs have been found frozen to the ground or even dead from too much heat exposure. In certain states, this classifies as a felony under laws that prohibit the “torture” of animals, yet many people don’t realise that what they are doing is wrong and harmful until it’s too late.
Another common method of neglect comes in the form of pet hoarding. Some people who love dogs too much can actually be hurting their beloved pets by not providing adequate resources and attention to them. The Humane Society estimates as many as 250,000 animals being victims of hoarding every year. This activity can also put enormous strain on animal shelters that do not have the resources to provide for a sudden influx of captured animals.
Intentional Dog Abuse
Even though some animal abuse can be unintentional, there are plenty of cases of cruel abuse that are inflicted purposefully upon innocent animals. Over 70% of animal cruelty cases in the U.S. involve dogs, but that number only reflects cases that were actually reported. The true data could be even higher.
A particularly brutal form of abuse is dogfighting in which dogs are forced to fight one another for the profit or entertainment of spectators. This heinous type of entertainment often results in the deaths of countless dogs who are forced to live in grimy conditions, and there may be as many as tens of thousands of dogfighters across the country.
Not So Different from Us
Despite the egregious amount of abuse that affects dogs’ lives every day, studies show that dogs are actually quite similar to humans as a species. For example, humans and dogs are both territorial and hunt together, they both form emotional bonds with one another and use greetings. These similarities are part of the reason why dogs have assimilated into our immediate families. Loving dog owners do not see their pet just as a friend; rather, they accept them on an emotional level as part of the family.
Dogs and Our Health
While everyone knows that their dog can make them feel better, it’s actually scientifically proven to be the case, it turns out that interacting with dogs releases neurohormones in the brain that create a sense of “goodwill, joy, nurturing, and happiness”. These effects can be life changing as they help people deal with depression, loneliness and motivational issues. Not only do dogs need us to take better care of them, but we actually need them too!
There are many specially-trained dogs that provide incredible services to humans outside of just regular bonding. Many people are familiar with guide and hearing dogs that assist the blind and deaf, but there are even dogs trained to alert others when someone is having a seizure. Other dogs are companions for children on the autism spectrum, acting as an icebreaker for social situations and comforting the child during stressful times.
Dogs don’t even need to be trained in order to aid us; they have been known to alert families to fires in their home thereby saving their lives.
More than Friends
As therapists, guardians, and family members, dogs are more than just man’s best friend. They provide invaluable companionship for various aspects of our lives, so they shouldn’t be treated merely as pets or property.
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