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15 Reasons Why Shelter Dogs Are Your Best Friend

Adopt a Dog | Pet Night Events | History

Did you know that dogs have lived side by side with humans for many, many centuries? It is believed that the reason behind this long-existing companionship is simply because both humans and dogs are social creatures that enjoy each other's presence, and their fellowship is also proven to be extremely mutually beneficial and effective. You don't believe it? Think about it- only one scratch behind the ears and you don't have to worry anymore about finding that ball that you just threw God knows where. Efficiency and co-existence at its finest! But let's be honest here- no other animal serves man as faithfully as the dog. It is fearless, selfless and its little heart is filled with nothing but love for its owner!  

Your furry friend will warm your bed, go for a walk with you, protect your home and your (his) family with equal excitement and determination. Whatever support you need - a dog will always be by your side, ready to squeeze its last drop of strength to help and make you happy. Canines also understand you. Even if they don't speak, they know perfectly well what you tell them. Dogs do this by learning how to identify your feelings. Moreover, your emotions are never hidden from their eyes - your pet will always be able to tell if you are feeling good, and if it senses that you are not in the mood, your four-legged friend will do everything in his power to make you happy and to prevent you from feeling lonely. And everything you must do in exchange for this unconditional love and companionship is just to be there and take care of them. It is that simple. But how did dogs become what they are today? 

First came the wolf, then the chihuahua 

There are many theories of the evolution and domestication of canines. It is believed that the first dog descended from a wolf in East Asia and the reason for its taming is most likely a result of the changes in our ancestors' lifestyle. About 15,000 years ago, people began to lead an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, agriculture developed, and the first communities were established. Permanent settlements also suggest hoarding food that possibly attracted wolves, so they gradually entered human life. It is not known whether man domesticated the wolf with the idea to breed a tame animal with similar characteristics to those of wolves, but it is undeniable that humans played a significant role in the formation of canines and their different subspecies. The long years of coexistence with people are also thought to have contributed to big changes in their behavior. While both wolves and dogs share the same instinct of finding safety in a pack, which is also related to the alpha leadership and group’s hierarchy, the main difference between them is exactly the dog's ability to understand its leader's emotions, which it acquired over the centuries. Today, more than 350 breeds exist around the world, some of which still resemble wolves (for example, the beautiful and vocal husky) but their overall physical similarities are not that common.  After all, it will be equally as hard to look in the eyes of a Saint Bernard or a Chihuahua and think "Yup, your grandpa was a wolf."  

With many breeds come many problems 

While diversity is a good thing, with his unstopping desire to produce and perfect the canine kind, man has created a hardly controllable and reversible overpopulation. The Humane Society has estimated that there are at least 10,000 puppy mills in the United States, fewer than 3,000 of which are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. According to their research, in most of these mills, the health of the puppies is neglected to maintain low costs, maximize profits, and maintain a low overhead. This overproducing is also a big reason why sadly, around 3 million dogs are abandoned and enter shelters every year, and only about half of them are adopted afterward. 

But there is a light in the tunnel 

Dogs are amazing animals. They are loyal, they serve and protect, and they even save human lives daily. But most importantly they will go above and beyond to make their owner happy, a fact known by many and a fact that earns them the title "man's best friend."  Unfortunately, this friendship is often betrayed by people, which results in many dogs losing their homes and their families. The best thing you could do if you are thinking about getting a dog is considering a shelter or a rescue first. Need more convincing? Check out some reasons why a shelter dog might be your best furry friend! 

15 Reasons (many of which scientifically backed) to Adopt a Dog 

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”– Josh Billings, humorist   

1. Owning a dog is scientifically proven to reduce feelings of loneliness. 

2. A good dog gives you a good heart! Studies show that having a dog reduces cardiovascular mortality! 

3. Dogs are stress relievers. Washington State University scientists discovered that petting a dog just 10 minutes a day can keep the doctor away. 

4. Dogs can reduce PTSD. Researchers found that veterans with service dogs suffered fewer PTSD symptoms. 

5. A dog can get you a date! Men are more likely to be given a woman’s phone number if they have a dog with them, according to this study. 

6. Dogs guilt you into exercise!  Nobody wants to see their dog cooped up inside all day. This study found that dog owners are 4 times more likely to meet their daily recommended physical activity. 

7. Need more people friends? Get a dog! This study shows that 40% of dog owners find it easier to make friends. 

8. Dogs make us better people.  The "infant schema" of a dog’s facial features trigger caregiving responses in humans!  

9. Dogs can mesmerize you into being happy. Just looking into a dog's eyes can raise your oxytocin levels. 

10. Dogs improve the cognitive function of seniors. One study found that the quality of life of mentally ill residents in long term care was improved with pet therapy. Another showed dogs decreased agitation in those suffering with dementia. 

11. Dogs will clean up food spills for you! Just make sure the food is safe for them to eat! 

12. Dogs can make you feel safer at home! 

13. Dogs can be extensions of your fashion style.  Of course, dogs each have their own personality, but if theirs matches yours, this site has some pretty rad collar options. 

14. Dogs teach responsibility to kids and are a great primer to parenthood for young adults. 

15. Kids living with dogs have fewer colds and ear infections. Check out this article for more details.  

Already own enough dogs (as if such term exists) but still want to help? 

With the Holidays right around the corner, you are offered a great friendship-bonding experience, that can last a lifetime..literally! Take your furry friend and bring them to see Santa on a special Pet Night event at a participating location near you. There together you will be able to create a moment to remember and will even have the opportunity to spread the holiday magic by making a donation to The Humane Society of the United States. Because giving is better than receiving.  

If you’re looking for a companion who will be loyal to the end, an animal that is as happy as they are healthy, and never ask anything of you except your love – then adopting a shelter dog might just be the best thing that ever happened to you. You won't regret it!  

The holiday season should be all about celebrating what we have in our lives that is dear to us - like these sweet animals who depend on humans for their care and safety every day. Share you adoption stories by commenting below, on Facebook, or Instagram.   

Find fun Fall activities for you and your pet on Create Holiday Magic’s Fall Activities with Your Pet Pinterest board!  

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