The Importance of Dog and Human Bonds

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Jocelyn Travis, Writer

Many of us have heard or even used the phrase “man’s best friend” to describe dogs,  but do we really know the impact they have on humanity? Their extremely compliant attitudes and loving personalities have led society to believe that dogs are great companions and that they have many great qualities to offer humans. To sum up, domestic dogs provide humans with many beneficial traits that can help improve mood and overall well-being. 


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Although the origin of dogs can be debated, most scientists and canine geneticists believe that they were one of the first species domesticated by hunters around 30,000 years ago in Asia. At that point, dogs were primarily used for hunting and work purposes, and they also guided some religious beliefs; Dogs would be used as sacrifices during some ancient rituals as well.


Dogs originated from the common wolf, and are closely related to the Grey Wolf and species like foxes and jackals. They have been evolved to sympathize and understand human emotions more than any other animal. Because they were primarily used for work purposes, their impact on human emotion was not completely understood until more recently. 


Today, dogs are owned mainly for their companionship but can assist people with hunting, farm work, and protection. Along with their unique skills and talents, they are most loved for their personalities and the bonds that they form with humans. 


Sophie Marcus, a sophomore at Pentucket said that Baby, her dog, “Absolutely brightens my mood on the daily; thus, improving my mental health…Just by petting my dog, I am calm.” For many people, dogs can provide a sense of company and allow them to decompress after a long, stressful day. The relationship between a dog and its owner can greatly improve both of the individual’s moods, which is proven by scientific research. 


Dog’s Impact on Human’s “Happy Chemicals”


In the human brain, there are five primary “happy chemicals” that control an individual’s mental state and influence how good they feel at a particular moment. These main chemicals include dopamine, endorphins, serotonin, glutamine, and oxytocin, which are released when someone experiences something that triggers feelings of happiness, or tranquility. These are considered “natural painkillers” by many sources and are known to incredibly impact one’s mood. These are essential for maintaining a good mental state and fighting against mental disorders such as depression.


 According to hundreds of studies, it is proved that by staring into the eyes of a dog, these chemicals are released. Spending as little as 10 minutes with a dog can infinitely reduce the amount of stress that you may experience and can ease feelings of loneliness. For some people with severe cases of chronic stress and anxiety, doctors recommend service dogs to provide comfort and support to those who are struggling. 


At Pentucket, Dice the emotional support dog is available in the library on certain days of the week for students to visit and interact with. Taking a few minutes out of your school day to visit Dice could be extremely beneficial to reduce stress and improve your day.  


Impact on Physical Health


In the United States today, the leading cause of death is heart disease. This includes heart attacks, heart failure, high blood pressure, and strokes, usually caused by long-term, unhealthy habits like poor diets, smoking, being inactive, or drinking too much alcohol. At first, dogs and heart disease may not seem like they could be correlated, but dogs are proven to decrease the likelihood of developing an illness like this. For example, various studies prove that people who own dogs are 31% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease compared to people who do not own a dog. 


Dogs require their owners to let them out, walk them, feed them, take them to the vet, and much more. This pressures the owner to have the motivation to take care of their pet who is always needing something. Every time you take your dog for a walk, you consequently burn calories and get exercise which is extremely beneficial for your cardiovascular system. 


In relation to the effect on children, research conducted by the CDC shows the impact owning a dog can have on children ages 4-10. The graphic below shows not only the physical benefits of owning a dog but also how owning a dog can affect a child’s growth and development. 


Dogs are proven to encourage exercise and healthier ways of life. This is extremely beneficial and can significantly improve your well-being over time. 


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It has been proven that dogs can significantly improve humans’ mood and mental health and that they love doing it. Dogs, being one of the first domesticated species, means that humans saw that they could be beneficial for society and mankind in the future. Dogs not only provide a sense of companionship, but they can create an unforgettable bond that will be hard to forget. In addition to the mental impact that dogs have, they can have positive effects on your physical health. 


My Own Experience With Dogs

For me, my dog Annie has provided me with so many unforgettable memories and has given me so many beneficial experiences. When I or a family member is feeling off, she is there for every one of us and instantly we feel better when we see her. In relation to the physical impact she has on me, I feel so much healthier after getting out and walking her, and it has made me a more responsible person in general. For this reason, dogs are extremely important to society and can benefit everyone differently.

“Annie,” Photo Source: Jocelyn Travis
“Annie,” Photo Source: Jocelyn Travis