The Power of Man’s Best Friend

A dog’s presence adds to a person’s quality of life simply by staying in close proximity

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Carrie Alano

Man’s Best Friend- Or, in this case, woman’s best friend. Carrie Alano’s one-year-old dog, Raider, watches over her children while they play outside at home. In addition to watching over the kids, he is most often found playing with and providing comfort to the whole family.

Allie Tribe, Staff Writer

 

Man's Best Friend
Man’s Best Friend- Or, in this case, woman’s best friend. Carrie Alano’s one-year-old dog, Raider, watches over her children while they play outside at home. In addition to watching over the kids, he is most often found playing with and providing comfort to the whole family. (Photo by: Carrie Alano)

From golden retrievers to teacup poodles, dogs come in all shapes and sizes. With over 195 breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club, not including the mixes and mutts, there’s no shortage in the canine variety. Despite the variety in breeds, the loyal and affectionate nature of dogs shine through in every pet.

Commonly thought of as a house pet, the other duties dogs take on always seem to slip the mind. Canines assist in therapy, police work, herding animals or work as service animals. While animals assisting in herding dates back centuries, the discoveries of the effects of dogs in therapy are relatively recent. Long hospital stays cause anxiety and stress, but the presence of a visiting therapy dog helps to ease the patients and put their fears to rest. 

Similar to therapy dogs, service animals help with emotional as well as physical challenges their handlers face. Guide dogs rank as the most common job for service animals, but they also work as diabetic alert dogs, mobility assistance dogs, seizure response dogs and allergy detection dogs. With the intense power of their noses, dogs working in police or search and rescue fields put their skills to use. Canines in the police field often sniff out substances or track missing people. Beyond their killer nose, dogs often possess the innate ability to determine a person’s true intentions. A dog’s loyalty reaches the point where they’d do anything to protect their human, even putting themselves in harm’s way, which makes them perfect for the jobs they do.

Even with the proper jobs some pooches have, not all dogs need to possess training to make a difference. The benefits of dogs extend far beyond that of a fish, and for obvious reasons. Studies show that owners of dogs have lower blood pressure, a lower chance of depression, lower levels of cholesterol and higher levels of endorphins than those without pets. Pets encourage their owners to go on walks and become active, so that benefits their mental and physical states. 

Whether a dog tracks down criminals or sits as a movie watching buddy, the differences they make seem crazy for just being an animal. In reality, the smallest things create the biggest impact, and it seems that the wag of a tail changes everything.