They are your workout buddy. Your go-to source of snuggles and of kisses. They are the first ones to greet you when you walk through the door, and the saddest to see you leave again. They watch TV with you, stay at your feet when you are up late working, and sit patiently as they watch you cook dinner. You have conversations with them, even when they can’t talk back. They love you on your bad days, and stay close when you are sad or sick. They take up half the bed, leave hair all over your furniture, steal all of your pillows, and insist that the best place for a nap is right on the edge of your yoga mat. They adore your friends and family because your friends and family adore you. They protect your home with any site of a stranger that may be a threat to you, even sometimes barking at the shadows on the wall -- or at their own reflection. You are their person, and they are your dog.
They are your best friend. And when it comes down to it, they really are the ultimate girl’s best friend.
A girl’s relationship with her dog is truly not comparable to any other type of relationship. An uncanny bond exists that enhances life itself because they are there. And you think about this often. This furry four-legged creature seems to sometimes know you better than anything else in the world. And you often like to think about this telepathic connection that exists between your two souls. About the love that flares up in your entire body every time you think of them, see them, or talk about them.... except when they decide that your cozy UGG slippers or your new boots would make a good snack. But then they apologize with their entire body and facial expressions, and you realize that really nothing they do could ever change the way you feel about them.
What if I told you that this bond you feel, isn’t just a feeling?
Over the last few years, scientists have started trying to discover new evidence proving that the bond shared between a dog and their person is as real as the pain in your thighs after holding a warrior pose for too long. And these scientists have not only succeeded, but have reached out to teach us that these bonds are something truly special. Something that exists beyond the way your heart flutters when you’re around them.
Have you ever heard of the hormone called oxytocin? It is a hormone that is released into your body that triggers love and nurture. It has been found that the simple gesture of just looking into your dog’s eyes floods this into, not only your own body, but your dog’s body as well. Together, as one. Further, it has been found that the more often you look into each other’s eyes, the stronger the flood is for both. Weirdly enough, dogs are the only animals that search for this connection in the eyes – and they don’t even search for it within other dog’s eyes, just humans. We are chemically bonded to make each other happy.
Scientists have been studying the brains of dogs even further, to find out how much they really do love us back. Their findings are nothing short of heartwarming. When testing different smells -- the strongest sense a dog has, and nearly one million times more powerful than a humans -- they found that their person’s smell activates reward centers in the brain. And that of countless other smells, even the smells of other dogs, dogs will prioritize a hint of human smell over anything else. When testing sounds on their brains, it was found that the same happy noises trigger the same auditory complex in both dogs and in humans. This means that the communication system between the two are impeccably strong, and the ability to separate happy from unhappy sounds has lead to many saying that dogs are even wired to pick up on human’s small changes in mood. Their keen hearing can separate when you are happy, sad, anxious, or angry. So when you think your dog knows something is wrong... it’s because they actually do. And they really are trying to comfort you.
Reversely, women in particular were studied to see how their brains were affected by different things. Surprisingly (or unsurprisingly) enough, women who have had dogs and babies for at least two years, showed that photos of both sparked the exact same regions in the brain. These regions associated with things like affiliation, emotion, reward, and social interaction. These bonds with dogs also start being created from the moment you meet each other, just as when you meet your child. In other words, women really do see their dogs as their children, and accumulate the same happiness from both equally, in many ways. And further, dogs really see us as their pack. Have you ever noticed that when they are scared or upset they will likely turn right to you for help? You don’t see that in animals such as cats or horses, for they tend to run away and be alone.
When you think about it, dogs and humans really are very much alike. We like to be in close-knit packs or families. We pick up on body language, facial expressions and nonverbal cues with ease. And we are sensitive to the moods of the ones we love. So when they have the capabilities to sense disease, help disabilities, lower blood pressure, create peace, lift spirits, be emotional aids, and fight crime -- it’s really not shocking that when they focus all of their energy into their person, amazing things happen.
All of this goes to show that not only do dogs truly love us back on a level that we never thought imaginable, but truly do see us as their family. They rely on us for protection and affection, and in turn we rely on them for one of the truest relationships we’ll ever encounter, and one of the deepest loves we’ll ever discover. The bond that exists and the companionship that is created is undoubtedly a beautiful, beautiful thing.
And with all of that time to sit around and study us, they probably do know us better than some of the people we are closest to. And therein lies one of the truest facts on this Earth -- a dog really is a girl’s best friend.