Nurturing creativity with art, animals, and science fiction

Tag: working dogs

Amazing healing powers!

While not a cure-all, you might be surprised.

Sometimes the best cure for depression is something that gets us out of ourselves and focused on other things . . . . such as the love and needs of a puppy or rescue dog. Consider adopting a canine companion from your local animal shelter, if you’ve started to feel as if no one really cares about you. 

There’s no mistaking when a dog loves you! Of course, that love must be reciprocal for the magic to really work. Being someone your dog can count on will nearly always make you a better, happier person, too.

A note of caution, however: there are times when a good psychologist or psychiatrist really IS what’s needed (in addition to the dog, perhaps). Don’t use your dear best friend as an excuse not to seek help, if “puppy therapy” hasn’t improved your outlook substantially in a few weeks’ time at most. There are some chemical imbalances or other difficulties you really do need to see a human doctor about!

IMAGE: Many thanks to Mactoons for this image and quote. 

Wouldn’t you agree?

Personally, I’m with Will on this one.

IMAGE: Many thanks to Mactoons for this image and quote. 

The embodiment of service

Here’s a love-note for all the faithful service dogs whose daily devotion makes their humans’ lives better.

IMAGE: Many thanks to Mactoons for this image and quote. 

What is a Service Dog?

They show up in many places: service dogs of all sizes and breeds. Even in places where no dogs are supposed to be allowed. 

Can they really ALL be service dogs?

Sometimes the people they’re with really do look as if they are injured or impaired in some way–but other times the people look normal. 

And yes, sometimes it’s a scam. But businesses and the general public are legally required to treat them ALL as if they are real, and are really needed. The very good reason for this is that everyone’s burden is different, and everyone’s solutions to problems are different. Sometimes, just asking the question “Is that really a service dog?” can cause unintended harm. 

So whatever you might think you know about how “really necessary” that service dog is, choose the path of compassion. Give your fellow human (and service dog) a break–Also, please don’t pet or distract the service dog! It really can put the dog’s human in danger!

I recently posted about working dogs, in a piece called Working Dogs: Canine Enslavement or a Fulfilling Life? (you can find it on both my Blogger site, and on my Jan S. Gephardt’s Artdog Studio website). I intend to follow up with more posts about dogs and the various kinds of work they do.

IMAGE: Many thanks to The Dog Knowledge, for the photo of a variety of service dogs. 

Working dogs: Canine enslavement, or a fulfilling life?

2010 03 22 Lap Full O Dogs-Detail

Iggies all round: two of mine, plus two foster puppies.

I’ve almost never been without a dog in my adult life (and those few months were pretty grim). 

Dogs are easily my favorite kind of non-humans. 

This is perhaps not all that surprising: humans have lived in something of a symbiotic relationship with dogs since prehistory, and our two species have been cohabiting and co-evolving, literally for millennia (since the Neolithic). 

There’s actually a pretty good case to be made that, without our dogs co-evolving with us to guard us and help us hunt, haul our stuff, and keep our livestock in line, we humans might not be as successful a species as we are. Indeed, from that perspective people who don’t like dogs really seem kind of ungrateful, don’t they? 

Couldn't resist this cartoon by Tony Hall, from a National Geographic article about the evolution of dogs and humans.

Couldn’t resist this cartoon by Tony Hall, from a National Geographic article about the evolution of dogs and humans.

The ingratitude of humans notwithstanding, one could also debate whether hooking up with humans has ultimately benefitted the dogs. Certainly it has changed them, both outwardly and inwardly–from the way they look and act to what they can digest.

Wolves OnceThere’s also a contemporary debate, among humans who DO value dogs, over whether they should be made to work or not. 

It doesn't exactly look comfortable, but is it animal enslavement?

It doesn’t exactly look comfortable, but is it animal enslavement?

Some people say that dogs with jobs–even dangerous jobs, such as sniffing out IEDs in Afghanistan–are happier and more fulfilled than dogs whose existence is mostly occupied with eating or sleeping. 

Too little stimulation and interaction can lead to serious problems.

Too little stimulation and interaction can lead to serious problems.

In developed countries today there’s a rising tide of difficulties for pets, especially if they’re left at home alone for too many hours, and perhaps crated the whole time. They tend to develop issues, such as separation anxiety or neurotic behavior from too much idleness, and obesity that often stems from too little exercise or free-feeding that leads to overeating from boredom. 
Is a domestic pet (unfortunately prone to obesity and separation anxiety) really better off?

Is a domestic pet (unfortunately prone to obesity and separation anxiety) really better off?

Please review that list I made above: guarding, hunting, hauling (sleds, travois, carts), and livestock-keeping. Those are all jobs that dogs have done for ages . . . and it’s probably because some of their earliest ancestors more or less “volunteered” for those jobs. I don’t buy into the idea that humans were so brilliant they could look at wolves out in the wild, and intuit that they could be domesticated to do all those jobs.

Some partnerships are a natural outcome.

Some partnerships are a natural outcome.

No, the natural capabilities of dogs, and their basic nature–combined, I am convinced, with the bonds that develop between individual humans and the individual canines who live with them–led the members of both species to stumble, together, onto the idea of the dogs doing these jobs.

Resource Guarding: it's a Dog Thing.

Resource Guarding: it’s a Dog Thing.

Dogs are naturally territorial, “resource guarding” creatures–and we humans definitely fall into the category of “resources” for most dogs. From there it’s a short step to a role as “Head of Ranch Security.” Hunting and herding also stem from things dogs do naturally, even without humans around. 

On duty or off, a dog needs a purpose in life. Just as people do.

On duty or off, a dog needs a purpose in life. Just as people do.

I guess you can tell I place myself into the category that thinks dogs benefit from having a mission in life. And now, if you’ll excuse me, my personal trainer Jake (the tan-and-white IG in the front of the top photo) tells me it’s time for a walk (of course, he’s just doing his job . . . ). 

Do you have any “working dog” stories to share? please put them in the “Comments” section below!

IMAGES: Many thanks to my daughter Signy for the photo of me in my favorite recliner with four Italian Greyhounds. Many thanks to National Geographic and cartoonist Tony Hall, for the “campfire moochers” image. Many thanks to the HumorHub Subreddit, for the “Wolves Once” image, to Pete Somers’ Pinterest Board for the “holstered attack dogs,” to Stamp Right Up’s Pinterest Board for the “bored so took up scrapbooking” meme, and to Dog Medicine Info, for the photo of the bored dog. Thank you to Darwin Dogs for the “Shepherd/Sheepdog Conspiracy” image, to Boredom Kicker’s Pinterest Board for the unworried kid with three German Shepherds, and to Payton Phillips’ Pinterest Board for photo of the Gizmo-snuggling terrorist-hunter. It’s been a pleasure finding these images, and I greatly appreciate their creators!

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