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‘Best friend’ better than ‘cat lady’

By Maria Suarez, Asst. Color Page Editor

It’s no coincidence that dogs are called “man’s best friend” while “being a cat lady” is an insult.

Picture this, a dog’s average lifespan is about 10-13 years. One year for a dog equals seven years for you because dogs mature much faster. So a two-year-old dog is equal to a high school freshman.

Through the eyes of a dog, humans live for hundreds of years, and their owners are the center of their universe. A child will grow up with a little puppy and as soon as the child is a teenager, the dog will already start to develop grey fur and grow weak. The dog’s lifespan flashes in front of the owner’s eyes, and while the dog may grow weak, it sees its owner is still full of life. To the dog, its owner is literally its best friend for life.

Dogs are great companions. When arriving home, dog owners hear the barks of excitement when they stand outside the doorstep before unlocking the door, to be greeted by leaping hugs and wide grins showing off those pearly whites which are both threatening yet heartwarming.

Dogs don’t hide their love for their owners. A dog will demonstrate the same affection whether its owner was gone for five minutes or five days.

Dogs can be the best workout buddies. Dogs need exercise to stay healthy, and so do you, so why not combine the two?

Unlike cats, dogs enjoy going outside and being active. Jogging and walking can easily become a daily exercise for a dog owner. Cats prefer to stay inside and lie on top of furniture like couches

Yes, a comfy couch and a furry pet sounds like the perfect cuddle time, but there’s a time for everything and luckily, dogs are down for anything. Any extra time you want to spend with your dog is like a heavenly opportunity for them.

Also, it’s quite rare to see an owner walking their cat. A daily exercise for a cat owner might as well be searching around the home to find the cat, because cats are always wandering off somewhere and usually prefer alone time.

Dogs are also hard workers, helping humans in daily jobs. Dogs have special characteristics and abilities that allow for them to occupy human jobs. Service dogs are trained to help people with special needs.

Dogs have a great sense of smell, which allows them to be great first responders and serve as search dogs. Dogs are recruited and partnered with first responders by The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, a non-profit, non-governmental organization in California.

There are police dogs, which serve as investigators when hunting down criminals, illegal substances, explosives, locate missing people or find crime scene evidence. Dogs are selfless and in most cases dogs will put their lives after the lives of humans, without expecting anything in return.

Studies done by Purina show dog ownership can help those with mental health problems to recover and feel better, which is why there are special clinics with therapy dogs. In some cases, dogs have been taken to hospitals to accompany sick patients or recovering patients.

Dogs provide a sense of emotional well-being with the unconditional love they give, which is why they’re great company and comfort for people who live alone or have social problems. Studies have also shown that children with chronic illnesses often cope better with treatment when they have a canine companion.

In a recent study conducted by Takefumi Kikusui, an animal behaviorist at Azabu University in Sagamihara, Japan, a group of dogs and their owners were brought together, then allowed to interact alone in a room for 30 minutes. The researchers measured both human and canine levels of oxytocin before and after and found that levels had increased when the dog and its owner spent a lot of time making eye contact. There was an increase of 130 percent in dogs, and 300 percent in humans. The same experiment was done with cats, rabbits, hamsters, snakes and other pets as well as farm animals, but in none of those other cases was the bond as strong and trust-based as it was with dogs.

Dogs are great, but they are dependent. Dogs depend on humans to bathe them, to feed them, and to get their daily exercise. A dog isn’t like a cat who can simply lick itself clean. Dogs need baths and they are time consuming.

Much like cats they need their owner to set the food out for them, although cats are known to hunt down mice to eat them or climb up trees to kill birds, or at least that’s what Tom & Jerry teach little kids.

A dog isn’t capable of putting its own leash on and stepping outdoors to walk itself. That’s why dogs wear dog tags because they face the danger of running away or getting lost. They require a responsible owner who has enough time to take them out for walks. When was the last time you saw a cat on a leach and it didn’t seem weird? That’s because cats have their litter boxes and don’t rely on walks to satisfy their needs.

A dog doesn’t discriminate. Count all the times you’ve been out in public or in a park and a dog peacefully walks up to sniff you, and half the times all they need is a little pat and off they go. In some cases, you may say that dogs are better than people.

Posted: Apr. 25

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