The Delight of the Human-Canine Bond
By Martha Char Love
As I flew home from Atlanta to Honolulu, I began reflecting on our trip to visit family and friends. One experience that really stuck out in my memory was the time I spent with my father, Guy Whitenton, who is 98 years old. I particularly loved the time we spent looking over the proof copy of our new book Maggie’s Kitchen Tails.
Although he is nearly blind in one eye and can not see well in the other, he was determined to read a few stories in the book. After a long time starring at the pages, he looked up at me and said, “Who is the smart dog?” He was talking about Maggie. I explained that Maggie was Mamie and Doug’s dog that had been rescued and had inspired the writing of this book. He looked at her picture a while and then commented that she was part German Shepard, and with that began reminiscing about a dog named Prince that he had 88 years ago when he was 10 years old. Prince was a full German Shepard and a family watch-dog. My dad perked right up and began story telling (something he has always done magnificently) about his dog. Apparently, Prince was such a good watch dog that one time my father’s brother Joe had to take his Halloween costume off before coming back into the yard after Trick or Treating. Prince was just not going to let him in looking like a ghost.
It occurred to me since my nearly millennium-aged father and I had such a great time together reading and reminiscing on the stories in Maggie’s Kitchen Tails that other people would have the same experience as it is truly a great book for all ages—fun to read to children as well as with the special senior in your life.
After getting home from my trip, I decided to do a bit of research on the Human-Canine Bond. I felt it must be very special if it would last 88 years as it did for my father with his dog Prince. My main interest was to discover why humans are so prone to make this special bond, and I found there are a number of main psychological theories that explain it and here are the two that make the most sense to me:
1. The Social Support Theory is that humans have an instinctual need for others (what I like to call the need for acceptance) and a dog fulfills this need, particularly when there is a human family loss in one’s life and the person is left with a strong feeling of emptiness and aloneness. This is also often seen in the empty nest when a dog comes to fill the loss of children in the home in a couple’s life. According to this theory, dogs are an important source of social support and companionship, which are two aspects that are necessary for psychological well-being of human beings.
2. The Canine as Self-Object Theory is when a canine itself creates a human personality (or we project it to be human) and becomes a "self object" that gives a sense of support. In this case, the person may feel much stronger and safer in the presence of the canine companion.
The American Veterinary Medical Association supports that the Human–Canine Bond is influenced by emotional, psychological, and physical interactions that are essential to the wellness of both people and dogs.
Whatever theory of Human-Canine Bonding you relate to, I think you will agree that this special bond we have with our dogs is one we may keep and cherish in our feeling memory. And one day when we are sitting in our most comfortable chair in our elder years like my dad, let us hope we too are reminded of how lucky we feel that our lives have been so blessed to have these wonderful canine beings fill us with joy and love for a lifetime.
Stop by and visit our web site and check out our Maggie as she has inspired a book with a collection of short stories and dog treat recipes. Scheduled book launch is October 31, 2015.
August 28 thru December 31 2015
In honor of abused and abandoned dogs, for
the holidays, please consider this book for gift giving. A portion of our profits are donated to support groups that advocate and rescue these dogs.
Five (5) books, receive the sixth (6) FREE.
Two (2) books, receive the third (3) at 50% discount.
Maggie’s Kitchen Tails:
Dog Treat Recipes and Puppy Tales to Love
Be sure to pre-order your copy today!
Douglas E. and Rosemary “Mamie” Adkins
Martha Char Love