As many of you know, I’m a dogged advocate for tail and fur medicine. Earlier this year, Jane Brody wrote an interesting article for the New York Times Wellness Section called “Life With a Dog: You Meet People.” The piece talks about the many positive effects her dog companion, Max, brings to her daily life.
Max definitely increased the joy, laughter and dog-centered activity in Brody’s life. But it came as a surprise when her level of social interaction was enhanced. Because of Max, Brody met and interacted with people she would have otherwise passed by: “Perhaps the most interesting (and unpremeditated) benefit has been the scores of people I’ve met on the street, both with and without dogs, who stop to admire him and talk to me.”
Loneliness and disconnection are prevalent in our culture. Luckily, we dogs haven’t lost our enthusiasm for personal interaction, so we’re great at helping our humans make new friends. I’ll tell you a story: One of my family members was walking down the street with me on-leash. A young woman was walking toward us and gave us a huge smile. My other human, a few steps behind us, smiled at the young woman, who immediately stopped smiling. It’s true: When you walk down the street with a dog, people open up, and often a conversation starts. If you don’t have a dog, openness is often received with suspicion. With a canine companion, not only are passing interactions more pleasant, but long-term friendships often develop, especially with neighbors and other people who are out with their dogs.
One of the most profound ways a dog can bring balance back to a human’s life is by connecting her to community. So forget the on-line thing. If you want a way to connect, go for the Four C’s: Canines = Conversation = Companionship = Community.