Dogs in Human Company

Dogs were first domesticated from wolves at least 17,000 years ago, but perhaps as early as 150,000 years ago based upon genetic fossil and DNA evidence. In this time, the dog has developed into hundreds of breeds with a great degree of variation. For example, heights at the withers range from just a few inches (such as the Chihuahua) to roughly three feet (such as the Irish Wolfhound), and many colour variations.
Dogs are highly social animals and this similarity in their overall behavioural pattern accounts for their trainability, playfulness, and ability to fit into human households and social situations. This similarity has earned dogs a unique position in the realm of interspecies relationships. The loyalty and devotion that dogs demonstrate as part of their natural instincts as pack animals closely mimics the human idea of love and friendship, leading many dog owners to view their pets as full fledged family members. Dogs seem to view their human companions as members of their pack, and make few, if any, distinctions between their owners and fellow canines. Dogs fill a variety of roles in society and are often trained as working dogs. For dogs that do not have traditional jobs, a wide range of dog sports provides the opportunity to exhibit their natural skills. In many countries, the most common and perhaps most important role of dogs are as companions. Dogs have lived with and worked with humans in so many roles that their loyalty has earned them the unique sobriquet ‘Man’s best friend.’
For me this title is the saddest part of cruelty to dogs. A neighbour of mine has four dogs caged, he comes out once a week and lets them have a run and feeds them stale bread. When they see him they go crazy and jump all over him, to him they are just for hunting. He doesn’t know I go up at night and give them proper food, make sure they have water and worm them. I find myself in this situation constantly and in a way, it doesn’t help because he thinks his dogs are surviving from his care, when in actual fact they are not! However, I couldn’t sleep at night knowing they were up there.
On that note a quick reference to last month’s column: a woman came to see me and said she was going to open a kennel/cattery in Almuñécar and that she had been to her vet and he said she didn’t need a license or insurance! Another example of spectacular rubbish advice, by the way this is the same vet I hold responsible for the death of my 13-year-old boarder/jack Russell X. The same vet who, when my 14-year-old cat died and I was stood there in pieces, went and got a kitten and looking at me confused said, “Here’s another one.” I asked the woman why she thought it was a good idea to ask me how to set up a business that had taken me almost 10 years of research and dedication so that she could go into direct competition with me. She said, “Because I like animals.” I asked her why, in that case, would you try to take business from me, when I care for and feed so many stray and abandoned animals with the profits from my business as well as a family of four. I told her that there was not enough business to go around and that I was struggling myself. She shrugged and looked at me as if I was difficult and unfriendly! She then asked if she could put up a poster of her lost, un-chipped, 8-year-old dog, so I stopped worrying,

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