Being Women

International Dog Day: 7 Interesting Facts About Man’s Closest Companion And A Rescuer’s Account

International Dog Day is celebrated on August 26 every year. Prerana, a rescuer based in Bangalore shares how it all began with her.

International Dog Day is celebrated on August 26 every year. This day was created so that all dogs, irrespective of breed, of purity, whether they live on the streets or at home, whether they have a deformity or not are celebrated. The day serves to remind us of this animal’s contributions to human lives. A faithful, loyal animal, this species is closest to us and it’s time we keep a day specifically reserved for our wonderful mates.

Let’s look at some interesting facts about dogs.

Dogs may be able to fall in love with you

A 2015 study at Azabu University in Japan found an uptick in the level of oxytocin (sometimes known as “the love hormone”) in both dogs and their owners when they stare at each other.

Nivesh and his companion

Male dogs lift their legs when they pee as a sign of dominance.

Dogs’ urine contains markers that inform other dogs of its presence, social standing, and sexual availability. Dogs lift their legs as high as they can so they can “distribute their message” better and allow their scent to travel further. A 2018 study published in the Journal of Zoology found that smaller dogs try to lift their legs even higher so that they seem bigger than other dogs who may be around.

Dogs are more aggressive when being walked by a man.

The presence of a leash, the sex of the owner, and the sex of the dog all play a part in the aggressiveness of a dog when they’re being walked. Dogs being walked by men are four times more likely to attack and bite another dog.

The bond between the two

Dogs dream.

Not only do dogs dream as they sleep, scientists think that they dream similarly to us and replay moments from their day. You can tell that a dog is dreaming if they are twitching their legs or barking in their sleep. Small dogs have more dreams than big dogs.

Your dog is as smart as a two-year-old child.

Back in 2009, per The Mirror, psychologists discovered that dogs are capable of learning the same amount of words and commands as a human toddler—specifically, a two-year-old child. The average dog can understand about 165 words, while the smartest of the smart can go up to 250. That’s a clever canine!

Dogs can smell your feelings.

A dog’s sense of smell can be used to work out how humans are feeling. According to Psychology Today, studies show that they can detect both feelings of stress and fear as well as happier emotions.

Prerana and Nivesh and their companions….a partnership for life

Dogs can help their owners live longer

Not only do dog owners tend to live longer than people without dogs, but dog owners are also more likely to survive and recover from major health events, such as heart attack or stroke. “Interacting with dogs can boost your production of ‘happy hormones’ such as oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine,” says the American Heart Association. “This can lead to a greater sense of well-being and help lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. And having a dog can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, ease depression, and improve fitness.”


A Pet-lover and a Rescuer’s perspective

On National Dog’s Day, we have an account from Prerana Chakraborty who is a rescuer of animals and lives in Bangalore with the innumerable pets that she has rescued. She and her partner Nivesh have dedicated their life to the cause. On this day, she shares how it all began for her.

“I never liked dogs, but I never hated them either. It wasn’t until 2016 that I remembered having touched any. I was always kind, though. I used to see my class teacher, who was also my mentor, feeding stray dogs after college. She was a kind woman. So was our head of the department, Genetics. He had a lot of stray dogs in his home.

When we came to our own home in Bangalore with our ten cats, I started feeding stray dogs on the main road while coming back from work. One day, while coming back, I saw a tiny little puppy in the mouth of an older dog. Without wasting a minute, I dropped everything and ran to save the pup. I managed to free him, but I knew he wasn’t safe there. I tried to look for its mother, but I couldn’t find any lactating mothers at that time. I brought him home and kept him in a box. Since the day was Holi, we named him Holi.

The next day, I planned to search for his mother and drop him back. Taking a suggestion from a friend, I gave him a medicated ointment using coconut oil and haldi, fed him, and kept him on a tiny balcony. When I went to check in the evening, his stomach had become huge, he was hot, and it wasn’t the Sun. I ran to the only hospital I knew was 8–10 km away only to find out he had a life-threatening viral disease called Canine distemper. With a bleak chance to survive. I could have given up. But we chose to fight.

For the next few weeks, twice a day, he was taken for drips. I used to come at 10 and till 1 am his drips would continue. I would come back home by 2, sleep till 6, get ready for work, and before that, I would drop him and my mother off at the hospital. That became our routine.

I wasn’t sure whether dog viruses spread to cats or not, so I kept him quarantined in one room (the only room with a balcony), and thus today it’s his room if anyone stays there. In the next 4 months, he got better, but because distemper affected his nervous system, he developed a distinct chattering that is irreversible. Otherwise, he is healthy and very good-looking. He has his own set of followers around our home and on social media.

Presenting Holi

Holi is indeed my first dog, and a very special one. This opened the door to rescuing, fostering, and adopting dogs, as well as arranging for the adoption of dogs I rescued. He became the first dog in the house of cats and opened the door for others too. He opened my heart a tad bit more, and more and more animals entered.”

Editorial Team with inputs from Prerana Chakraborty (photographs are from Prerana C)

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