There’s one thing I just can’t tolerate – and that’s the growing amount of stories of people beating up or threatening animals. For example, let’s talk about terrible human being Terrell Keith Daniels. Daniels posted a video on Instagram which showed him striking a shih tzu-poodle mix puppy nearly a dozen times with a leather belt. Thankfully the video, which was taken by his son, quickly caught the eye of deputies who were able to track him down and send him to court for animal abuse. The dog, who was supposedly being “punished” for the outrageous crime of going to the bathroom, was immediately vacated from the house.
Just the other day, a dog in Arizona named Ryder was found hanging from a doorknob after police investigated a house after a domestic disturbance. “During the initial investigation officers noticed a severely emaciated … dog attached to the door knob of one of the bedrooms with a very large, linked chain as a collar and leash combination,” Phoenix police Officer James Holmes said in a news release. Ryder did not have any food or water and appeared to be severely malnourished – and when asked why she was in the situation she was in, her caretaker claimed that she was “vicious”. Not an excuse, lady. (And if you had no access to food or water, I’m sure you’d be vicious too.) Ryder is currently in critical condition, but hopefully with time, she’ll make a full recovery.
These are just two of the many unfortunate incidences of animal cruelty that have happened in the past week. I’d post more, but I don’t necessarily want to highlight horrific humans on such a positive piece of web space. I will say this – in situations like the ones above, I feel like we – as humans – will always root for the animal. As we should. Reasons shouldn’t even need to be given when a human has been caught being inhumane to an animal. While dogs and humans can communicate well, the dog often can’t protect itself against unnatural acts of aggression as listed above. A dog doesn’t understand why the human is taking their aggression or illnesses out on them. It pains me to realize that people might be uploading these videos because they find them amusing – or think that beating on an innocent life will gain them some type of internet popularity. Studies have proven that dogs often depend on their humans the way an infant would – so I’m sure such torture is even more confusing to them.
Thinking about man’s best friend made me want to learn more about the bond that humans have with dogs. Here are a few facts I came across when researching the animal/human connection a little deeper.
1. Researchers from the University of Chicago found that several groups of genes in humans and dogs, including those related to diet and digestion, neurological processes, and disease, have been evolving at the same pace for years. One of the reasons is based on cohabitation, and the fact that dog domestication is now estimated to have started 32,000 years ago (past research figured that it started about 15,000 years ago.)
2. Dogs and humans have the same type of slow wave sleep and rapid eye movement. During this REM stage, dogs can dream. You can tell if your little buddy is dreaming if he’s twitching and moving his paws. And speaking of sleep…
3. A whopping 45% of dogs sleep in their owner’s bed.
4. According to Kevin Behan, author of Your Dog is Your Mirror: The Emotional Capacity of Our Dogs and Ourselves, everything a dog does is a one-to-one translation of what its owner is feeling. A dog and owner evolve to form one “group mind,” counterbalancing each other emotionally, and aligning around a common want. Which makes sense, because humans want nothing more than bones and revenge towards the mailman.
5. Since dogs have evolved from wolves, they have a pack mentality. Pack members are emotionally bonded and greet each other enthusiastically after they have been separated, which is why your furry buddy is always so happy to see you after you get home from work. Or from the grocery store. Or even if you’ve been outside for just a mere few minutes to water the garden.
6. Dog behavioral problems often occur by trying to relieve the tension that we very well may have caused. If a dog is in a situation where there’s a lot of yelling and fighting, the pooch can get very uncomfortable and act out of character. (While this obviously isn’t the only cause for bad behavior in dogs, it’s something to consider next time you want to loudly pick a fight with your spouse over something stupid.)
7. Have you ever had a dog howl while you’re playing music, or maybe singing with friends? This is a wolf trait as well. Recordings of wolves have shown that each will change its tone when others join the chorus. And speaking of music – while most believe that dogs don’t have a preferred taste the way we do, a bulldog named Dan, owned by Dr. George Robinson Sinclair in London, had a knack for growling at choristers who sang out of tune when George took him along to choir practices. That being said, Dan would have hated me.
If I could have a billion more points, I’d also make note of every single dog who has saved their humans from a bunch of troubling situations, including: poisonous snakes, drowning, snow storms, dangerous individuals, fires, and even carbon monoxide leaks.
Obviously dogs and humans have had quite a history together, which makes it so unbelievable that certain individuals could still be so cruel to them. If you want to put an end to these horrific cases of abuse, familiarize yourself with your state’s laws, recognize the signs of abuse, and be willing to report it immediately. Abuse is illegal in every state, and a felony in 46 of them. If you’d like to make a donation to help the fight against animal cruelty, check out this website for the Humane Society of the United States.
So, as you can tell, it’s pretty obvious as to why we’ll always be rooting for the dog. And based on the fact that scientists are now saying that dogs understand us better than chimps do, I have a feeling that the dog will be rooting for us as well. If you’d like to share any stories about your connection with your pooch, we’d love to hear them!