We’ve all heard the expression “Man’s Best Friend” when referring to our tail-wagging, wet-nosed, furry, family members…no, not your weird Aunt Marge or oddball Uncle Homer…your faithful friend Fido! But, where did this expression come from and how long have dogs been an integral part of our human lives?
Documented evidence shows humans first domesticated dogs during the caveman era! Going back 40 million years, these little creatures — weasel-like in appearance — made their homes in trees and dens and called Miacis. Even the Bible acknowledges dogs with a total of 14 specific mentions throughout both Testaments. In fact, some folks have attributed a mystic spiritual meaning to the fact that dog is God spelled backwards!
Throughout the centuries they have surely worked their way into our hearts and homes…although during the Middle Ages some rather colorful expressions arose during periods when the pets fell out of of favor: “Son of a b!#?h” and “Die like a dog” represent two such examples!
Today, one in three American households counts one or more dogs among their family members. However, this commitment to pet ownership should not be taken lightly:
- Large dogs generally live between 7 and 12 years
- Smaller breeds can reasonably be expected to live up to 16 years
- The oldest dog on record lived 29 years — an Australian Cattle Dog named Bluey!
- An unspayed female dog and her unneutered mate can produce 66,000 OFFSPRING in a 6-year period!
- Spaying or neutering puppies by six months of age will help to prevent some forms of canine cancers
There can be no denying the benefits and joys of dog ownership, not to mention the tangible results of better physical and psychological health and their proven contributions to the longevity of their owners. And curling up with your four-legged friend at the end of a stressful day just can’t be beat! While cat fanciers or other animal aficionados may disagree, dogs possess a special quality celebrated throughout song and story.
In fact, as we begin the Chinese Year of the Snake…which some count among their family pets…a little history tells us where the traditional Chinese Zodiac years originated:
Buddist lore holds that on the day Buddha died, he summoned all animals to his side. He bestowed a lasting honor to members of the first 12 species to arrive…which included a dog…by giving each animal a year of its own. As is evidenced, a snake was among them but no cat was to be found which is why to this day there is no Year of the Cat on the Chinese calendar!
Yet for all the celebration of our canine friends, unfortunately between 6 and 8 million dogs (and cats) end up in shelters EVERY YEAR! And, even more sadly, approximately half these numbers must be euthanized due to a lack of space and adoptions. In San Antonio, we have diligently been trying to achieve “No-Kill” status since 2006 and have made steady strides.
But, we’re not there yet! As a purveyor of smiles, we at The Smile Center know that nothing brings a bigger smile than the love of a warm puppy or dog. Which is why this year we celebrate our FIFTH Annual Paws For Smiles event — counting 60+ adoptions since we began in 2009! Partnering with the City of San Antonio Animal Care Services, on National Find A Dentist Day we invite our friends at ACS to bring a group of adoptable doggies to our Military Plaza location (529 SW Military Dr. at Pleasanton Rd.) for a fun-filled opportunity to find “forever homes.”
With free popcorn, Pet Vet Dental from Texas A&M University, Jennie James from radio Q101.9 Qute Pets, people Dental tours and free consults with our Dentists, balloons, coloring sheets, free doggie dental supplies, mascot appearances by the San Antonio Rampage Hockey Team’s T-Bone, Animal Care Services’ Chips & Salsa and our own Smiling Sammy…not to mention drawings for Charter-level Rampage Hockey tickets and Premium Spurs-Mavericks tickets…PLUS the chance to add the love of a dog to your life makes The Smile Center THE place to be this Saturday (Jan. 5th) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.!
While your human best friend may judge your new “experimental” haircut, your human family may express “disappointment” in your latest life decision, you can bet your last dollar — which it won’t cost you to adopt a dog at Paws For Smiles with discounted adoption fees! — that your new canine Best Friend will love you unconditionally!