The Love of Dogs
The Love of Dogs
by Ellie J Photography
Pet Photography Coventry & Warwickshire
I read an article recently about how pets have saved lives during the Covid-19 pandemic. As an animal lover, this has not surprised me in the slightest. One of my concerns this year has been the increased number of people rushing to buy dogs as they've faced lockdown and restrictions on outdoor activities. My mum spent many years as a manageress at the Dog's Trust, so I know first hand how many are purchased on a whim and then dumped when the new owners realise they can't cope with the responsibility and expense that comes with dog ownership. There are also, of course, those heartless individuals who will think nothing of setting up puppy farms to make money at this time as they take advantage of all those people looking for a 'cheap' alternative to a proper registered breeder.
The article, published in Vet Practice Magazine (Australia), was a welcome positive read. The benefit of having a pet in the family is something I am already aware of based on my own experiences with our dog and also from the amazing bond I see regularly between families and pets through my photography.
I love my dog. Sadly, I am not necessarily his favourite human. I suppose its par for the course. While everyone else in the family gets to join in the 'fun' stuff, like taking him for walks, feeding him treats and so on, I am the one human in his pack who is responsible for the 'bad' stuff; taking him to the vets, forcing him to take medicine and trying to groom and detangle his amazing coat (think big fluffy teddy bear).
He reminds me of his disapproval regularly. For example, when the family returns home from a trip without him, he will run to every other family member in turn, tail wagging and fussing them as if we'd been gone for hours. For me, its more of a brief glance in my direction to acknowledge that I have also returned. I can almost hear his thoughts saying "Oh, so you're back too".
There are a couple of occasions however when I am guaranteed to be on the receiving end of my dog's attention. One is when I have just photographed another dog and I will be his sole focus for a while as he sniffs around, trying to figure out why I suddenly smell interesting rather than my usual boring self. The other is whenever I am ill or feeling anxious. On these occasions, he will be right by my side. He may not appreciate the vet's visits and grooming sessions he has to suffer under my care, but when I need him he is always there, and he has never let me down.
According to the article in Vet Practice Magazine, 'a new Australian study has found that animals have stepped into the breach for many people, providing much-needed comfort via cuddles, pats and a constant physical presence. The study by University of South Australia researchers points to the lifesaving role that pets have played in 2020.
“In a year when human contact has been so limited and people have been deprived of touch, the health impacts on our quality of life have been enormous,” lead author Dr Janette Young said.
Pets seem to be particularly important when people are socially isolated or excluded, providing comfort, companionship and a sense of self-worth,” Dr Young said.
I have certainly noticed during my gloomier 'lockdown' moments, as I've worried about Covid 19, the health of my family and the future of my business, that my dog is always here for me. Whenever I'm feeling low, he will just quietly appear by my side and sit with me until I feel better. I can't explain it - he just knows.
As I have already said, based on my own experiences I am not surprised at all at the outcome of that Australian study, and I know other pet owners will agree with me. In this year of worry and sadness however, it is so nice to see the role of our pets being acknowledged.
Once you have owned and loved a dog (or indeed any pet) you will understand what a positive impact they can have on your life. It is such a shame they are only with us for a relatively short time. To end this blog, I want to mention a wonderful story I heard about the reaction of a young child to the death of his beloved family dog. I can't remember where I heard it, or who told me, but it goes something like this:
After the death of their elderly dog, a young child's family were confused at how well the little boy was taking the loss of his pet. While talking together about how sad it was that animal lives are shorter than ours, the little lad apparently explained to his family that "humans need time to learn how to live a good life and be loving and nice, whereas dogs are born already knowing that, so they don't have to stay as long"
Give your fur baby a cuddle from me and thanks for reading!
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