Whether you like it or not, dogs are the most awesome animals on this planet – at least from people’s point of view. Don’t get me wrong, I am sure that pilot-fish, for example, are awesome from a shark’s point of view, but sharks don’t have a blog, I do. I am a human, and I see the awesomeness where I choose to see it.
Before you quit reading – all of you cat people, pig owners, vegans and animal activists, I need to make something clear. This is not a post trying to prove the superiority of dogs, compared to other animals. On the contrary, if I have to be frank about it, the extinction of dogs would not affect the environment or life on planet Earth in any way, like the extinction of bees would, for example.
people so different from one another that you would never have ALL of them agree on anything else
This is a post meant to clarify why on earth do dogs have this amazing capacity of uniting more people on the planet than any other animal ever will (apart from some places in China, Thailand, South Korea etc, but let’s not go there). You can have the most different people ever come together and praise the awesomeness of dogs – people so different from one another that you would never have ALL of them agree on anything else, apart from that.
So what is it about dogs? Here’s a short list:
– Dogs adore us
– Dogs can accompany us almost everywhere: shopping, swimming, having a coffee, going to lunch, visiting a friend, enjoying a car ride, sleeping, running, playing, cooking, studying, skiing, sky diving, skating, riding a bike, travelling.
– Dogs can lead the blind
– Dogs can assist the disabled
– Dogs make elite therapy animals
– Dogs find bombs, drugs, and missing people
– Dogs hunt for us
– Dogs protect us
– Dogs herd our sheep
– Dogs can rescue us from drowning
– Dogs rescue us from being stuck under an avalanche or a collapsed building
– Dogs can prevent you from falling into a diabetic coma, by warning you if your blood sugar levels are too high or too low
– Dogs look right into your eyes and wait for you to let them know if they are supposed to eat, drink, move, jump, hi-five, sit, stay, roll over, fetch the newspaper…
it’s only the dogs that cover this ridiculously wide range of…human taste, human needs, and human hobbies.
Please don’t accuse me of being unfair or prejudiced. Yes, cats can make excellent pets, donkeys make good therapy animals, baby goats are adorable, opossums are cute, pigs are crazy smart etc. BUT, the thing is that none of these animals (or any animal in the world) can do all of the things dogs do. Some domesticated animals can fall into a bunch of these categories, but it’s only the dogs that cover this ridiculously wide range of…human taste, human needs, and human hobbies.
Why are dogs so perfect for us?
So what makes dogs possess this ridiculous amount of abilities meant to serve one and only purpose: to satisfy humans? Well, some may say that it’s because we made them that way, but this is wrong. Humans did not “make” dogs, evolution did, and this is more awesome than you think.
Humans did not “make” dogs, evolution did
At some point, thousands of years ago, one wolf decided to leave its pack of wolves, defy its DNA and go live with the two legged species, with whom he had nothing in common (it’s a bit more complicated than that, but you get the point). That wolf left its DNA behind and evolved separately from it, he evolved with us.
we became who we are today and dogs became who they are today, holding each others’ hands along the way
Humans and dogs evolved together – we became who we are today and dogs became who they are today, holding each others’ hands along the way, and, no, this is not some theory I just made up, this is scientifically established. Some even believe that it’s the dogs that helped Homo Sapiens prevail over the poor Neanderthal – otherwise you and I would look more like the man in the photo below.
Evolution made that dogs’ natural environment is the human society. It’s the only animal ethology scientists can study “at home”, without going off to live in a jungle somewhere, because it’s the only animal whose natural habitat is our homes, our cities, our villages. For dogs, home is where we are, literally.
Every species evolves the cognitive abilities it needs to survive in its natural environment, and the dogs’ cognitive abilities developed in order to make it easy for them to survive next to us. Evolution made that dogs are predisposed to learn socially from humans, which in Leyman’s terms means that they see us as one of their own.
For dogs, home is where we are, literally.
The amazing pointing experiments might seem trivial, but what they keep proving is more than amazing. Studies that included humans, chimpanzees, dogs, and wolves show how both humans and dogs have more in common with each other than they have with the species they share DNA with. Dogs’ cognitive abilities are closer to our own, than they are to their ancestors, the wolves, and humans’ cognitive abilities are closer to those of the dogs, than they are to the chimpanzees.
Dogs’ cognitive abilities are closer to our own, than they are to their ancestors, the wolves
The dogs and us are the only two species on the planet who share similar forms of communication, while having nothing in common in terms of DNA. We evolved together because we chose to, and we have reached this high level of communication because we wanted to. The will to live together sent DNA “packing” – what can be more awesome than that?