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Summary/ Background

The definition of a dog is a domesticated, carnivorous mammal that is kept as a pet, for
work, or field sports (Jensen, 2006). I have had a dog all my life and it has made me a better
person for it. My family has always owned dogs and at the age of five I got my very own for my
birthday. He has been my best friend, always there for me when I am upset or sick. I believe that
by becoming a dog owner it comes with many benefits. In my personal experience, owning a dog
has benefitted me in ways such as making me happy, keeping me in shape, and providing
The dog is known as the first domesticated animal. It started off with the wolf which was
domesticated by hunter-gatherers. As a result of this domestication it has given dogs a behavior
that appeals more to humans rather than other domestic animals. Communication between dogs
and humans has been shown through shared behavioral and social qualities of both species.
Some of these qualities include showing affection, empathy, and communication. Dogs dont
actually talk like humans do of course, but they do bark or have an action to tell humans what
they want. For example, my dog scratches at the door when he wants to be let inside or out. Dogs
can also understand what we are saying by paying attention to the pitch and rhythms in our
voice. My dogs go crazy when they hear us ask if they want to go on a walk, they run and bark
and just go crazy every time. They also know when we are upset with them because they will
cower and act pitiful (Jensen, 2006).
There is an old saying that dogs are a mans best friend that I believe is true. They can
be a womans best friend too, just like my dog is mine, and I believe this is because of the bond
that is formed between dogs and their owners. Oxytocin is the hormone that stimulates this
bonding as well as trust. By petting your dog it decreases stress levels and acts as a calming
mechanism. My dog makes me feel better by just laying with me and comforting me, he always
shows affection by cuddling up next to me and giving kisses. Dogs give people a sense of
security and safety as well. Mine may be small, but they still act as guard dogs not letting anyone
they dont recognize step foot in our yard. I have always felt safe home alone because of my
dogs, I trust them to protect me and they havent let me down (Brumfield, 2016).
Owning a dog comes with many advantages for a persons health and well-being. Some
of these include better health, a happier life, and a profound bond. Becoming a dog owner comes
with great responsibility and shouldnt be taken lightly. My dogs are a part of my family and I
treat them as such, and in return they have become one of the most important things in my life.

Literature Review
Becoming a dog owner comes with many perks including a decreased risk of getting
diseases and illnesses. Studies have shown that owning a dog results in decreased blood pressure
and lower cholesterol levels (Shute, 2016). For example, in Shutes (2016) article it discusses
how Eric OGrey was advised by a naturopathic doctor, they use therapeutic methods to
encourage self-healing, to get a dog so that he could lose weight and lower blood pressure and
cholesterol. Having pets in the household can decrease the chance of allergic disorders and
asthma in children (Sudhir, 2011). Dogs also help people with mental illnesses by showing them
love and affection. Dog owners are less likely to commit suicide and have a reduced severity of
depression because they have something dependent on them (Ross, 2016). Dogs must be walked
so this increases their owners physical activity and strengthens your heart which allows for
better health (Sudhir, 2011).
Another benefit of owning a dog is they help lower stress levels. Some businesses allow
workers to bring their pets to work, which has shown lowered stress and increased productivity
(Noguchi, 2016). In Noguchis (2016) article she uses a store located in Greensboro, North
Carolina called Replacements as an example of a business that allows pets to come to work.
Some employees there stated that bringing and seeing pets at work is their favorite perk and that
they form a bond with the animals, making it hard when they pass away. Lowered mental stress
levels in dog owners is also a result of having their dog with them, as shown in a laboratory
response that found a dogs presence was beneficial for cardiac autonomic profile (Sudhir,
Dogs have the ability to form bonds with their owners. These bonds allow them to form
the ability to read their owners emotions. Dogs will pay attention to the different rhythms and
pitches in our voice to distinguish our emotions (Doucleff, 2014). When dogs and their owners
look into each others eyes it increases oxytocin levels which stimulates trust and bonding
(Brumfield, 2015). Dogs show a bond with their owners through yawn contagion, when their
owner yawns it can provoke the dog to yawn too, showing communication between the two
species (Trudeau, Greenhalgh, 2017). Yawn contagion is a way dogs show empathy and is a
form of synchronization (Waal, 2011).

Interview questions
1. How has owning a dog benefitted you personally?
2. Do you believe dogs play a role in decreasing the risk of diseases? Why or why not?
3. Has your dog helped you meet any of your friends?
4. Do you think your dog decreases you stress levels? Why or why not?
5. Do you think your dog decreases your visits to see a doctor? Why or why not?
6. Why did you decide to get a dog?
I did not interview a person who does not own a dog because my research paper is solely on the
benefits of owning a dog, so I feel it isnt necessary for this project.
Interview 1: Dana Pierce
1. My dogs make me happy and they put me in a good mood. They also keep me physically
active because I walk them every day.
2. I do believe that dogs play a role in decreasing risk for diseases. The act of petting my
dog lowers my heart rate and blood pressure and makes me less stressed and I get some
daily exercise walking them every day. My dogs make me happier person
3. My dog has helped me meet my neighbors when we are taking our nightly walk around
the neighborhood.
4. My dog decreases my stress levels because they are always so happy, they help me be
more positive and keep me in a good mood.
5. My dog may be part of the reason I do not have to go to the doctor except for checkups. I
do not get sick often and I rarely have to go to the doctor.
6. I have had dogs all my life and I continue to be a dog owner because they make me
happy and I love the companionship.

Interview 2: Carole Tweed

1. Dogs teach responsibility and they stay loyal. My dogs show unconditional love and
bring me happiness knowing that they love me.
2. I believe dogs help to decrease the chance of diseases by diluting our stress levels. Stress
can bring on many types of diseases and I feel my dogs decrease my chance of getting
them by keeping me happy and stress free.
3. My dogs havent helped me make any of my friends, but they have brought me closer to
the ones I already have who own dogs. I believe having a dog creates common interests
and bonds between people.
4. Yes, my dogs make me laugh and show me affection making me happier and lowering
my stress levels.
5. I think because my dog decreases stress levels it lowers my possibility of getting some
illnesses. I believe dogs decrease the chance of getting diseases related to stress, which
has kept me out of the doctors office.
6. I decided to continue as a dog owner after my parents introduced me to Pomeranians
when I was 6 yrs old. They are the only dogs I have owned because they are small lap
dogs which is just what I need. They are also good-natured and have always been very

I am researching the positive impacts domestic dogs have on humans. I have found
research that shows how dogs benefit their owners by decreasing blood pressure, increasing
physical activity and lowering stress levels. I am very interested in this research because I
love dogs and I believe they serve as a beneficial role in our lives. Personally my dog has
helped me live a happier life by always showing me affection and being there for me when I
need him. I intend to research the advantages of owning a dog and why they make such great
pets. I plan to dig further into my topic through research and hope to find out why owning a
dog has shown more benefits than other animals.

Works Cited
Allen, K. (2003, December). Are Pets a Healthy Pleasure? The Influence of Pets on Blood
Pressure. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 12, 236-239. Retrieved from
Arhant-Sudhir, K., Arhant-Sudhir, R., & Sudhir, K. (2011, October 20). Pet Ownership and
Cardiovascular Risk Reduction: Supporting Evidence, Conflicting Data and Underlying
Mechanisms. CEPP, 38, 734-738. Retrieved from
Beck, A. & Katcher, A. (n.d.) Between Pets and People: The Importance of Animal
Companionship. Available from
Brumfiel, G. (2015, April 16). Scientists Probe Puppy Love. Retrieved from shots/2015/04/16/400102668/scientists-probe-
Doucleff, M. (2014, November 28). How Dogs Understand What We Say. Retrieved from

Fine, A. (n.d.). Handbook on Animal-Assisted Therapy: Theoretical Foundations and Guidelines

for Practice. Available from
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Jensen, P. (2006). The Behavioral Biology of Dogs. Retrieved from
McNicholas, J., Gilbey, A., Rennie, A., Ahmedzai, S., Dono, J., & Ormerod, E. (2005,
November 26). Pet Ownership and Human Health: A Brief Review of Evidence and
Issues. British Medical Journal, 331, 1252-1254. Retrieved from
Noguchi, Y. (2016, August 8). Who Let the Dogs In? More Companies Welcome Pets at Work.
Retrieved from
Ross, E. (2016, December 9). Pets Help People Manage the Pain of Serious Mental Illness.
Retrieved from shots/2016/12/09/504971146/pets-
Shute, A. (2016, March 10). He Rescued a Dog. Then the Dog Rescued Him. Retrieved from
Trudeau, M., Greenhalgh, J. (2017, May 15). Yawning May Promote Social Bonding Even
Between Dogs and Humans. Retrieved from
Waal, F. (2011, November). Moral Behavior in Animals. Retrieved from
Wells, L. D. (2007, February). Domestic Dogs and Human Health: An Overview. British Journal
of Health Psychology, 12, 145-156. Retrieved from