History of Man’s Best Friend


  • Author Jennifer Ayalon
  • Published January 16, 2014
  • Word count 641

Regardless of how close you are to any other human, there will probably be no other being who will accept you unconditionally for what you are than your dog. All your dog cares about is being with you as much as possible. As long as you treat your dog with respect and love and spend time with him or her, you will have a best friend for as long as your dog lives.

Anyone who has a dog knows exactly how thrilled the dog is when you arrive home. It actually doesn’t matter whether you have been gone for 10 minutes or 5 months, your dog will give you a hero’s welcome every time. And, as dog are pack animals and understand the importance of keeping all pack members safe, in most cases your dog will also defend you.

It is still up in the air as to exactly when mankind and dogs first teamed up, but it was evidently over 10,000 years ago. From the beginning, the relationship has benefited both species. Regardless of where and when, dogs have used their ability to bond strongly with humans to our advantage. Some dogs are strictly one person dogs while others will bond with an entire family.

The eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79 completely destroyed the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. It was in the ruins of Pompeii that the remains of a dog named Delta were discovered. Delta was positioned next to his young master, evidently still trying to protect him. Delta had saved the child’s life 3 times previously, as commemorated on his collar.

The Battle of Agincourt occurred during the Hundred’s Year War between France and England, and one of the participants was a British knight named Sir Piers Leigh. During the fight, Sir Piers was wounded badly enough to be knocked to the ground. Rather than ending up as easy prey for the French, his female mastiff stood guard over him until he could be removed from safety. This mastiff subsequently returned to England to found a famous line of mastiffs.

A dog doesn’t have to be big to be valiant, as was highlighted by the pug owned by William of Orange. Pompey had been sleeping in his master’s tent during a campaign in Spain. Pompey heard Spanish soldiers stealthily approaching the camp and awakened William by barking and licking his face. From that time on, William always kept Pompey in his bedchamber, and Pompey is featured alongside his master on William’s tomb.

With the advent of the internet, it’s now easy to see all the dogs that have proven that they are not only their master’s, but also all of mankind’s best friend. From the elderly woman who fell one outside winter night and was kept alive by her dogs bringing her a quilt and lying next to her to keep her warm, to the 5 month old cocker spaniel puppy who brought help for her master trapped in an overturned vehicle, it seems that dogs will go out of their way to give us the help, love, and (often) guidance that we need. Just think of the thousands of therapy dogs who assist their owners every day to live more comfortable lives.

It is more than likely that your particular best friend will not perform any really heroic acts for your benefit – few dogs will ever be faced with a marauding bear or a house fire. But it doesn’t matter; your dog is a hero as well as a best friend simply by being there for you every day, to see you through the bad times as well as enjoying the good. The only thing we humans can do in the face of such devotion is to be just as devoted to our dogs as they are to us.

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