You’re tired and stressed as you walk in the door after a long day at work, but somebody with big brown eyes is wagging a tail full of happy greetings. You put down your things and immediately love your companion back. Life is good!
Where did this relationship start? Estimates vary, but somewhere around 30,000 years ago canines and humans bonded. Descended from wolves, dogs found human scraps much easier than hunting for themselves and humans began to rely on dogs for protection, watching kids, and helping in the hunt.
As the centuries passed, dogs became highly socialized to humans’ body language and can now even learn up to 250 words. Our symbiotic relationship has become so refined that dogs now serve as therapy dogs for a range of challenges from diabetes to autism. They work for the police and military. They visit senior housing to boost their residents’ spirits. And we benefit further with a stronger immune system, less cardiac disease, less stress and a sense of connection.
Our relationship with dogs has become more and more popular ever since World War II. In fact owning a dog is at its highest peak in history. Our two species have grown together; dogs’ features have gradually become more and more appealing to the human eye to ensure our attachment. The area of the human brain that would be alert to danger has shrunk slightly. So the next time you see your dog gazing up at you with adoration, know that both our ancestors and theirs formed an alliance that has grown deeper throughout the ages. Was it destiny? Perhaps.