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Dogs...why do we have such an affinity for them?

"There are millions of species of life that exist on earth today but of all of these the dog is almost certainly the animal that is closest to our hearts...The mind (of a dog) can feel elation or depression, anger, sadness, thirst or hunger, pain or exhilaration. Dogs are sentient beings, aware of their own personalities. ...What finally makes dogs so difficult to understand is that in many ways they are actually very similar to us. Pack dogs live in groups of mutually interrelated individuals who are each independent but who work as a unit for a common good. They hunt in packs. They enjoy body contact and relish the companionship initially given by their mothers and then latterly by their peers and then others. Social activity is important for them...In selectively breeding dogs as we have, there is no doubt that we have neotenized them too. Both morphologically and mentally, dogs have been bred to retain the juvenile characteristics of play, exploration..."

The Dog's Mind, Bruce Fogle, D.V.M., M.R.CV.S.

If we understand what our dog's needs really are, they can lead us to some of the most valuable lessons for life and our lives with them will be fun, joyous and stress-free!