International Dog Day – 26th August

Early in August sees Kitties being celebrated, and a few weeks later on 26th August it’s time for Fido to have his fifteen minutes in the spotlight on International Dog’s Day. Not for nothing have dogs been known as “Man’s best friend”, and we here at Saint Leonard Veterinary Centre think they’re, well, top dog!

The unique partnership between man and hound began way back in the dawn of time………

a time fraught with danger and hardship for all creatures. Man became successful at hunting for their food; something which dogs picked up on, and they began to tag along. Scraps of meat and bones would be discarded by humans and the dogs would then hoover them up – pretty much like modern dogs, and definitely like the pooches at Underhill Towers!

Early man had also learned to make fire to ward off night-time predators and keep warm, and we all know how much dogs like a nice, toasty fire; so they quickly learned to be useful members of the human tribe and get the benefit of these creature comforts. For their part, the dogs would alert their humans to potential threats and danger by using their far superior senses of sight, smell and hearing. Back then it was a very practical partnership, with survival the driving force; nowadays it’s generally a far more relaxed relationship.

Dogs are really intelligent, although you might not think that when they’ve just done something idiotic like knock their water bowl over for the umpteenth time that day! This intelligence and willingness to please has enabled them to be put to good use in many situations that we humans aren’t as good in. One prime example is their use in airports, sea ports and other security environments where they are able to detect drugs on people or in containers, being illegally brought into our country. They can also be used to detect the presence of explosive chemicals, something unfortunately that needs to be deterred more and more in modern society. Our armed services also use their working canines to detect Improvise Explosive Devices (I.E.D s) out in overseas countries that they’re deployed to. Many human lives have been saved by the keen sense of smell these four-legged service personnel possess., as well as many armoured vehicles.

 

Bravery is something that dogs have by the bucket load, dashing in to rescue people in the most perilous of situations. I can remember a Saint Bernard dog by the name of Snorbitz that was the beloved pet of comedian Bernie Winters (yes I know, that makes me more than 21 years old!) and he regularly used to refer to her ancestors climbing on mountainsides when humans had got stuck in avalanches. The ubiquitous image is of these gentle giants with a flask of brandy in a miniature barrel around their necks, attached by their collars.

Closer to home, we have various Mountain Rescue teams whose partnerships of humans and Canines work to rescue climbers and walkers in arduous conditions. This is something that requires not only a lot of training, but also draws heavily on the close relationship between dog and man; the visual clues when in close proximity, and whistle commands in conditions where visibility is low or near non-existent. These teams are made up of volunteers, so I just want take the opportunity to say a massive “Thank You!” to them all; without them many folks would’ve perished or had far more serious repercussions from injuries sustained out on hills and mountains.

It isn’t just in the military sphere that pooches have risen to glory; recently there has been more and more use being made of them in medicine. Yet again it is the dogs’ super sense of smell that is being utilised to detect cancerous tumours, impending diabetic crises and even the threat of Epileptic seizures.

This is an area which is still in its relatively early days, so I’m sure we’ll hear more and more stories of dogs preventing serious health issues for their humans. It’s also well documented that the act of stroking the soft fur of a dog can help reduce stress and lower high blood pressure – now that’s my kind of therapy! Residential and care homes for older people are becoming increasingly open to the idea of canine visitors to their premises, as research has shown benefits for this part of society too.

Dogs are brilliant domestic pets; there’s literally a size and breed to suit every home! It’s entirely your choice of course as to whether you fancy a puppy for your family’s latest addition, but we do work with some fab animal rescue centres at SLVC, so why not give us a call for more information? Our friendly team is also on-hand for any health concerns you may have about your canine companion; whether it’s routine care, one of our healthy hound clinics or for emergency situations.

So let’s say “hip, hip, hooray for hounds” on their unique day; International Dog Day on 26th August.

Until next time; stay safe, stay well, and be happy 🙂