By Laurie Darroch
Dogs can be more than just a loving family member. They contribute in many ways just by being a part of the household. They can even be of special service or be a therapy dog to people who have medical issues or certain limitations in function. One of the conditions they can help their human companions with is depression.
Dogs give unconditional love while asking for very little in return. Their love is uncomplicated and adds no stress on that level to an already depressed person who has very little of themselves to give. A dog can also sense that their human family member is in a less than functional emotional or physical condition, and be concerned and protective. If relationships with family members or friends are strained and causing more anxiety for the person dealing with depression, the simple love of a dog can be soothing to overtaxed nerves and feelings.
Depression often causes lessened physical activity and no motivation to do things. The smallest physical task often becomes overwhelming. It is hard to even get up and move around a little when a person is battling depression. Having a dog to care for and love may be one way to find just enough motivation to move around the house to feed, play with and care for the dog.
By Julia Williams
Love is definitely in the air today. (Or maybe it’s in the water?). In any event, a lot of women get all goo-goo eyed on Valentine’s Day, with thoughts of love, a romantic dinner, a box of chocolates, maybe some beautiful red roses. Me? I’m usually thinking “Ugh. It’s Valentine’s Day…again? When will the madness end?” Now, I’m all in favor of romance and fine dining, but the commercialization of this Hallmark Holiday has really gotten extreme. And talk about pressure!
Who needs the stress – and the expense – of trying to pull off the mother of all dates? I have a much better solution. A date with your cat! According to Yahoo News, one in five people would prefer to spend Valentine’s Day with their pet over their human partner. Now, some might not have the courage to actually make that preference known, but I say just go for it. Feel free to use this list of 8 reasons why a cat makes a better Valentine’s Day date if you need backup. Just please don’t mention my name.
Actually, make that no expectations. No need to worry about planning the most over-the-top date ever, because a cat won’t stare at you mournfully when you don’t whisk them off to Paris, or procure an entire fancy restaurant for the two of you, or hire a famous band for a private serenade (you know… all that fake stuff the Bachelor does on TV). Cats have no concept of romance, hence, no Valentine’s Day expectations.
Your moolah goes a whole lot farther when you’re buying a Valentine’s Day gift for a cat instead of a human. Forget the bling and the overpriced red roses. Just buy a couple of catnip mice, and call it a day!
By Linda Cole
My dogs don’t lose sleep worrying about what to get me for Valentine’s Day. They snooze through TV commercials for flowers and candy, and their idea of a night out on the town would involve me chasing them after they’ve escaped from their dog pen. Fact is, dogs have no concept of Valentine’s Day…but they are capable of showing love. It might not be the same way we express our fondness for one another, but dogs do indeed have feelings of love.
We know dogs share some of the same emotions we have. They can become jealous, angry or depressed. Dogs show joy and express their happiness with a wiggling body when they see their favorite person. Research has also shown that dogs are capable of showing empathy to us and other animals. Many people claim their dogs can also express love, and now there is research to back up their claims.
The debate over which emotions dogs can feel has been going on for years. However, as scientists continue digging into the canine mind, they are learning that the bond we share with our dogs is more than just providing them with security or their favorite CANIDAE food. It’s deeper and perhaps even more complex than we know.
Researchers at Emory University in Atlanta trained 12 dogs to remain calm and relaxed inside an MRI machine so clear images of the brain could be seen without having to sedate the canines. They focused on the area of the brain associated with positive emotions, and found that dogs and humans share the same brain structure that controls emotions. We share the same hormones, and have the same chemical changes that take place in the brain.
By Julia Williams
I feel sorry for people who perpetuate the myth that cats are aloof, unloving and incapable of (or disinterested in) bonding with their human(s). That’s far from the truth. I’ve had wonderful relationships with many different cats, and each has shown unequivocally that I am not merely tolerated because I dole out their CANIDAE food twice a day. Oh sure, they appreciate having good food and a warm place to sleep. We all do. But the depth of our relationship goes far beyond me being the provider of their creature comforts.
My cats cannot say “I Love You” in human words. They can’t express love by buying me presents or doing nice things for me. They may not be able to define what love is in the same way we do, but they can and do show love in their own unique ways. Here are 8 things cats do to express love.
They Want to Be Near You
When cats climb onto your lap, drape themselves over your shoulder or curl up next to you in bed, it’s not because they’re looking for body heat. They want to be with you because they love you, and they enjoy being in your company. Every night before I go to bed, I say goodnight to my cats. Annabelle is either in “her” box in the closet or one of the cat beds. Minutes later, she tucks herself in next to me, her head on my pillow and her paws over my arm.
They Comfort You
Felines make great “nurses” for two reasons. They seem to always know when you are hurting whether it’s a physical or emotional ailment. They also stay by your side to give you lots of healing purrs until you are feeling better. How can that not be a sign of love?
They Protect You
You only have to do a brief Google search to find dozens of stories of “hero cats” who saved their owners from injury or death by alerting them to carbon monoxide, fire, gas leaks and other dangerous situations. My angel-cat Binky even alerted me to the presence of a peeping Tom – she jumped on the dresser and growled until I looked out and saw the perv staring in my window!
By Langley Cornwell
My parents let me get a puppy for my 10th birthday. A neighborhood mutt had puppies and I just had to have one. That precious dog was still alive and well when I went away to college. A lot of growing and maturing goes on during that timeframe, and much of what I learned came from the unwavering bond I had with that sweet pup.
From the earliest days of childhood, kids begin to learn about pets. Some children observe pet ownership from afar and others, like me, are given the opportunity to experience it personally. Either way, pets play some type of role in our growing up. If you were a child who enjoyed the privilege of sharing your young life with a pet, you are probably aware that your relationship with that pet taught you a number of different things.
Owning a dog requires an investment of time and responsibility. Our canine friends depend on us for healthy dog food like CANIDAE, shelter, water and plenty of love – at a minimum. This sounds a great deal like what is required to be a parent. When dogs or puppies need you, you have to be there. This is a great way to introduce your kids to the world of taking care of others. Pets are usually a child’s first experience with being responsible for a living thing.
If you have ever owned a dog, then you are keenly aware of the patience living with an animal requires. Dogs can push you to the very edge of sanity and then bring you back again. While dogs are a great joy to raise, you have to go into the situation expecting some trials. Any animal that is young and helpless will make plenty of mistakes along the way. Dogs are no different.
By Tamara McRill
Remember that romantic kiss scene in Lady and the Tramp? You know the one…where they are eating a big plate of spaghetti and unknowingly slurping away at the same noodle, until their snouts meet in a smooch. Then Tramp noses the last meatball across the plate to Lady.
Aww. So adorable, right? Not to kill the cuteness factor, but have you ever wondered whether dogs can really fall head-over-paws in love like that?
Doggy love is a hard topic to find solid research on, maybe because it’s hard to qualify the emotion separate from simple affection. A lot of scientists seem to just flat out not believe in it.
Anthropologist Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Social Lives of Dogs, believes that dogs can fall in love. In her book, she tells the story of Sundog and Bean, two dogs that met each other by chance and only had the pleasure of each other’s company for a brief period of time. Bean’s owner was a builder and they were off as soon as the job was finished.
Sundog would still faithfully wait to hear the sound of the vehicle Bean’s owner drove, but to no avail. He stopped eating and slept more often. Even bringing in another female dog didn’t interest him. As for Bean, her owner believed she was yearning for Sundog, even to the extent that she would run away, looking for him.