A year had passed and I would still usually find my youngest daughter sitting with my laptop in the living room searching for a dog on Gumtree. She was still in primary and young but knew exactly what she wanted. Waiting for so long, one year! And still searching! ‘Poor thing.’ Tears covered my face, telling my self ‘don’t cry’ every time I saw her. So young and yet so determined to have something great!
Love is such a short word and yet, so powerful it completely takes over people’s hearts and souls.
Her desire had become an urgency in her heart and all she would talk about was owning a dog. She didn’t worry about colour, size or what breed it was. It wasn’t in her criteria for the dog to be good looking or won any championships. “Mum, all I need is a dog that I can play with, exercise and be a friend to.”
One day we found a well written letter on our desk in our room, where she expressed her love for dogs in such a poetic manner. She explained her need for this companion and how it would benefit her life. She did convey understanding, and meekness in the case we didn’t go ahead with her request.
One day my husband and I surprised our daughter with a little pure bred Border Collie puppy that ‘she’ had found on Gumtree. Hubby brought the new puppy home in a special little gift box and till this day she exercises and more than before, plays, cares and even creates film with her dog. Her film talent even improved. She is never bored! They have become best friends. Beautiful bond! His name is Sherman and even carries our surname. We love him and we cater for all his needs. He shows his unconditional love by guarding our land and our home every night against predators/strangers.
The connection between humans and dogs has become so strong that for the sake of having an animal companion and continue to live with them, allergy sufferers around the world are willing to endure runny noses, sneezing, rashes and even asthma. (Allergy sufferers, 1997).
The American Veterinary Medical Association defines human-animal bond as “a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and animals that is influenced by behaviors essential to the health and well-being of both.”
Similarly, The Human Animal Bond Research Institute truly “believes in the powerful relationship between animals and people and the impact of this relationship on the health of individuals, families and communities.”
Some research studies have discovered that people who have a pet have healthier hearts, are not as sick, don’t visit the doctor often, get more exercise and have less depression. Moreover, research has found better social support and interactions with others just by having your pet by your side.
Just as my daughter benefited by having her dog by her side, research is proving this to be true, along side physical, mental and social benefits for the human body.
‘The better we understand the human-animal bond, the more we can use it to improve people’s lives.’
B.N. Western Sydney University, MA Management (Nurs) Newcastle University.
References Allergy sufferers endure rashes, asthma-just to have a pet. (1997, Feb 14). Toronto Star Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/437625498?accountid=10344 National Centre For Health Research. Retrieved from: http://www.center4research.org/benefits-pets-human-health/ The Human Animal Bond Research Institute. Retrieved from: https://habri.org The American Veterinary Medical Association. Retrieved from: https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Reference/human-animal-bond/Pages/Human-Animal-Bond-AVMA.aspx