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“Dog Gone” Amazing!

“Who let the dog out?”

Whoever did, thank you!  These days, more and more people are advocating for, concerned about, and loving their dogs. Our canine babies are quickly gaining very special status among pet owners and doing such great work for their “parents” they have become family in a very true sense!  Why?

It may be that your pup doesn’t care if you’re fat, beautiful, narcissistic, cheap, shy, intrusive, poor, successful, young or old.  Or that you sing terribly in the shower, drive a Yugo, are a Democrat or Republican, or walk around the house naked!  None of that stuff really matters at all to a well-cared for dog.

Professionals in the Helping Fields of Psychology, Physical Therapy, Geriatrics, Social Work and Oncology have taken notice of how valuable our dog friends can be.

They provide lots and lots of positive results for those who may feel hopeless, lost, depressed, disabled or dying.  Prisons have also found that puppies have “calmed the criminal” many times among inmates locked-up for years or life.  The dogs have shown the ability to bring out the best of the worst in society.  Police and the military have relied on dogs for years to assist in high-risk situations and perform investigative work when and where humans cannot.  Pretty “dog” gone amazing!

Yet, we see horrible reports of dogs suffering and abused for no fault of their own!  Behaviors from humans, so sick, so psychopathic, so senseless, that blood boils quickly and retribution is desired more than life itself!  Well, those atrocities will be addressed in another blog, but this one is about the great service dogs provide,  and praise for what they do for humans!

OXYTOCIN not to be mistaken with “oxycontin,” is a hormone we all have, and serves as our body’s stress reducer, calming us down at times of panic-overload and lowering our anxiety when life throws us too much than we can take at any given time.   While most of us can and do produce enough Oxytocin when we need it, repeated need to produce it over and over (for those with anxiety disorder or panic disorder) is extremely unhealthy, and can cause countless health issues in addition to emotional distress, including high-blood pressure, hair-loss, even death!

Here’s the good news.

The mere petting our dogs can increase our levels of oxytocin, and can help us live longer!  Let me explain a little more about oxytocin, the “magical hormone” that’s been explored in couples’ and marriage counseling, and in “pair bonding.”  This hormone is powerful.  When we kiss or hug someone, a loved one, its levels spike high in us!  It has been linked to bonding individuals to each other much like the praire voles, or “field mice,”  one of nature’s most monogamous species, who produce this “stuff” in masses!  Other oxytocin producers include sex, child-birth, and breast-feeding among numerous other bonding moments!

Dog owners enjoy and somehow know what the benefits of having dogs can provide!  They do not care that their dog is not a person on a chemical level.  The very same mediator that bonds a mother and child, as well as boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife, etc., is oxytocin.

Also, it’s a “no-brainer” that men who have dogs get more phone numbers from women, but you shouldn’t get a dog for that sole purpose. Oxytocin makes us more sympathetic, supportive to others and open with our feelings.  These are paramount to relationships.  Ruth Feldman from Bar-Han University in Israel found that “The increase in oxyctocin during the period of falling in love was the highest ever found.”  Oxytocin has also been found to be present in long-term relationships.

Is it really any wonder why our dogs are loved so so much, and why they make our lives complete?  They seem to give us more than people can in many situations, like Everyday Life!  The advantages dogs bring us at the expense of so little for them besides true love and care, serves as a lesson for us all!

I have 4 dogs, and would have 1,000 or more if I could!  Dogs have been in our world for millions of years, and we are the central feature in theirs!

Read more posts by Leo Battenhausen, MSW, addiction counselor.  Leo is a blogger for JenningsWire.