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In my About me page, I mentioned one reason for starting this blog was to improve my writing skills. While the posts I’ve done have been written more casual and not close to academic writing, my goal remains the same, to improve my writing skills. Additionally, I’m trying to find my writing style.
I had said that I would be sharing essays I wrote for my English class, and have shared three so far. You can find them here, here, and here.
After Carlos’ post yesterday, I thought I’d share my essay…I thought it would be an easy read. Feel free to provide constructive criticism on my grammar, but please be nice = )
How Dogs Benefit Humans
Many millennia ago, man and wolf began a relationship that would change the course of humanity forever. Dogs helped bring humans out of the Stone Age, and into the modern age. Today, dogs are helping humans more than ever, and people’s bond with them grows ever stronger.
People can benefit socially from the relationships they have with dogs. For example, owning a dog, and caring for it, can teach children responsibility, as well as boost their self-esteem, and sharpen their intellect. Dogs require a lot of care, and children can be charged with the responsibility of feeding, walking, grooming and bathing their pet. Because of their nonjudgmental nature, unconditional love and loyalty, dogs help children who are quite, shy, or suffer from anxiety. Many children and adults alike, who have difficulty reading, have benefited from reading to dogs. A dog listens contently as a person reads aloud, never offering any negative feedback, which boosts confidence and improves reading and comprehension skills. Having a dog by one’s side when out for a walk can allow people to appear more approachable, and can be a catalyst for strangers to talk to one another, helping increase the amount people socialize, and even help them make new friends. As mentioned previously, dogs are excellent companions; they are solidly devoted to their master. For this reason, dogs increase a person’s sense of happiness, security, and they ease loneliness for people who are divorced, single, or are survivors of deceased loved ones. Dogs bring about in people, feelings of self-worth, sometimes when other people cannot. They make people feel needed and wanted.
It is now a recognized fact; dogs improve the lives of humans, including their health. The simple act of petting or playing with a dog can raise serotonin and dopamine levels in people, thus reducing their stress and anxiety. In addition, dogs nowadays are used as therapy animals to help children and adults alike with many health ailments and disabilities. Some of these ailments and disabilities include blindness, autism, epilepsy, and diabetes. Dogs’ keen sense of smell, is allowing them to help medical professionals to detect melanoma, reducing the need for painful, and sometimes unneeded skin biopsies. Furthermore, dogs are prescribed for many war veterans in the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Many of these veterans have regained control of their life, thanks to the relationship and experiences they have created with their dogs. Another example of how dogs can help improve human’s quality of life was presented in a recent article. The article describes a plan that will train a dog to detect the rare disease of mastocytosis, a disorder in which the body produces abnormally high numbers of mast cells that could trigger many problems including a fatal allergic reaction. If the training is successful, it will allow many children with this disease to be able to attend school safely.
In addition to dogs benefiting humans socially, and improving their health, they also work with the government and law enforcement to help protect us. For many years, dogs served alongside soldiers in times of war. Because of dogs’ keen sense of hearing and smell, some dogs were trained as scouts to help find concealed threats such as landmines and even snipers. The military also used dogs as messengers; a task for which the dog needed to be loyal to two masters, or otherwise the message might not arrive on time or at all. Law enforcement now have police dogs; commonly known as K-9 units. These K-9s are more effective at chasing and holding suspects than their human counterparts. Dogs track a suspect’s smell if he is hidden and detain him once he is caught until his handler arrives. Additionally, dogs are trained in narcotic detection to assist in the war on drugs. Sniffing dogs, as they are sometimes referred to, are found at airports, and at border crossings, where high levels of security and anti-contraband measures are needed. Many dogs also assist with search and rescue missions (SAR). SAR dogs are indispensable for wilderness tracking, during natural disasters, or locating missing people. In the aftermath of the tragedy that befell the United States on September 11, 2001, people used search and rescue dog units to find people buried under the debris. Search and rescue dogs are responsible for finding hundreds of people every year.
The relationship between dogs and humans has changed vastly from the time when the first wolf approached the flicker of a fire at the center of a human encampment. Today, dogs serve a multitude of roles in nearly every facet of human life. From protector to detector of impending health crisis to friend, dogs benefit people’s lives in many ways. Dogs are no longer just companions; they are quickly becoming an indispensable part of people’s lives.
Images from on Google.
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Don't just take our word for it.
Scientists have proof that dogs make us laugh more than cats, keep us more active than the average human companion, and even reduce our chances of depression.
So, if you need a little more convincing, or you need to convince someone else in the household, here are the cold, hard facts for why you should own a dog.
1. Dogs Make Us LaughPeople who own dogs laugh more, according to a study published in the journal Society & Animals. Researchers asked people who owned dogs, cats, both, or neither to record how often they laughed over the course of a day. Those who owned just dogs and both dogs and cats recorded laughing more than the other two groups.
2. Dogs Are LoyalThe origin of today's domesticated house dog reaches back to between 18,800 and 32,100 years ago, when they evolved from wolves. Wolves are known for living in packs and developing strong bonds between pack members. It's this pack behavior that's what makes today's dogs so loyal.
Stephen Zawistowski, a science adviser at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, explains that dogs see their human owners as fellow members of their pack and, therefore, form the same close bond with their owners as they would with their canine brothers and sisters.
3. We're More Social with a DogIn the UK, a team of scientists at the Universities of Liverpool and Bristol found that UK residents with dogs were more likely to encounter other dogs and dog owners than people who did not own a dog. This makes sense, since dog owners are more likely to head out of the house on walks and run into other dog owners on their own strolls.
Moreover, the average American is more likely to own a dog than the other common house pet, the cat. That's more people to converse with about annoying dog hair, funny dog farts, and comforting dog cuddles.
4. Dogs Keep Us HealthyDogs might even protect us from poor health. Children born into households with a dog have a lower risk of developing asthma and allergies, the reason being dust.
A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last year showed that when exposed to dust from households where dogs were permitted inside and outside, mice developed an altered community of microbes in their gut that protect against allergens. It was reported that these microbes could be what's protecting young children from developing allergens in households with dogs.
5. We're More Active with DogsObesity is a major concern today, so it's important to get regular exercise. Researchers at Michigan State University reported in 2011 that 60% of dog owners who took their pets for regular walks met federal criteria for regular moderate or vigorous exercise.
Moreover, elderly people who walk their dogs actually have a more regular exercise routine and are more physically fit than the elderly who walk with other people, according to a study published in the Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services in 2010.
6. Dogs Save LivesDogs are not a cat's best friend, but earlier this year one lucky cat in Florida was saved by a blood transfusion from, you guessed it, a dog. Some dogs have a universal blood-donor type, just like some humans, and when no cat blood was around for Buttercup, the veterinarian used what was on hand, which reportedly saved the cat's life.
Dogs can also help humans by acting as an early warning system for patients who suffer from seizures. Trained dogs can sense the onset of a seizure up to 15 minutes before it occurs and will bark when this happens, which then warns the patient to sit so to prevent injury from falling down, for example. How dogs know when a seizure is coming is still unknown.
7. Dogs Give Us a Sense of PurposeDogs are great companions for anyone, but especially for the elderly. In a study published in the Journal of Social Psychology, elderly who owned a dog reported feeling more satisfied with their social, physical, and emotional state than those without a dog.
8. Dogs Give Us ConfidenceIn another study, participants obtained a dog and were assessed after 10 months with their new canine companion. In general, the participants reported a higher sense of self-esteem, improved exercise habits, and less fear of crime.
9. Dogs Genuinely Make Us HappyJust the simple act of making eye contact with your furry friend can release the feel-good chemical called oxytocin. In a study that measured oxytocin levels from two groups of dog owners, the group that was instructed not to look directly at their dog had lower oxytocin levels than the other group that made regular eye contact.
Another study found that dog owners who relied on their dogs for social fulfillment reported that "they were less depressed, less lonely, had higher self-esteem, were happier, and tended to experience less perceived stress."
While owning a dog is a wonderful experience, just make sure you're ready for the responsibility. Before actually purchasing a dog, consider fostering one for a few weeks to get the feel for what kind of schedule you'll have to keep.
And if you're ready to welcome a four-legged, wagging tail into your heart, this app that can help you pick the perfect pooch for you.