Without question man’s best friend is his dog. It is estimated that approximately 48 percent of the households in American have a dog and they number more than 80 million. They range from the tiny Chihuahua to Great Danes.

At one time dogs were primary hunting companions and served a valuable role in helping man feed his family. Today dogs are still used for hunting but also for hundreds of other tasks. Recently dogs have proved invaluable in detecting various diseases in humans, especially cancer. All this means is that old Labrador retriever has a much more valuable role than retrieving a dead duck.

Dogs first bonded with humans about 15,000 years ago and they have since served as protectors and hunters. In fact, scientists say that without their canine companions many of these original humans wouldn’t have survived.

Dog’s Loyalty

Since the beginning, dogs also have shown loyalty to their human owners and that hasn’t changed. A dog gets so bonded with its owner that he/she knows an hour before the owner leaves the home that the owner is going. The dog often is very quiet or even sulks. The dog also knows when its master is coming home and will wait by the door with tail wagging.

A few years ago scientists did a study on one of their own. That professor had a dog and the dog knew exactly when the owner had to leave to go to work and would go to his kennel. The scientists thought the dog was keying in on the coat and pants the professor wore each day. The professor changed clothes but the dog still went to its kennel. Next they had the professor change his shoes from regular loafers to a different style of shoes. The dog just sat by the professor and didn’t go to his kennel. The scientists determined that the dog was keying in on the shoes.

Dogs are proving invaluable in detecting cancer in humans, especially lung, bladder and breast cancer. Scientists have long known that cancer puts out a slight odor. Dogs have a smelling ability that’s 100,000 times better than a human’s. In recent years scientists have discovered that dogs can smell the breath of a person and can detect cancer with a 98-percent reliability. That’s better than most medical machines. They also can detect when a diabetic is having a reaction to insulin and warn that individual. They are also able to detect a seizure before it happens.

Dogs also have the ability to just look at a person’s face and detect that something is wrong. It’s called “left gaze bias.” They look at the right side of your face, which is less able to hide your emotions, and can instantly pick up what you are thinking. They can only do this with humans, not other dogs or animals.

We all know how a dog becomes a member of the family and is actually considered as a child by its owners. When you come home from a work it’s normally the dog that greets you and cheers you up. When my late wife was sick from cancer our little dog would jump up on the bed and cuddle with her. Somehow that dog knew that she was very ill and wanted to comfort her.

The most popular dog in America is the Labrador retriever. This is a dog that will weigh in excess of 100 pounds but cuddles like a baby. It is completely loyal to its owner.

The bad part of owning and falling in love with your dog is you will normally outlive it. When it’s time to put it down it’s a gut-wrenching experience. Most dogs live from 15 to even 20 years. Larger dogs have shorter lives in comparison to smaller dogs.

When your friends and family are angry with you and ignoring you, your dog will always be there and all it asks for is your love.

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