Joni brought home a book the other day: Inside Of A Dog: What Dogs See, Smell and Know by Alexandra Horowitz. I read half of it last night. I took a walk with the dogs this morning with a new found respect for these canine companions of mine.
I went slow and let the dogs use their noses to enjoy the forest. You see, dogs mainly experience the world through their noses. It is their way of seeing the world. A dog's nose is how they confirm that you are you: they need to smell you. They also can tell, by their noses, when you are sick. Or lonely. Or anxious.
Horowitz believes that dogs have been living with humans much longer than the generally accepted 12,000 to 14,000 years. Her evidence is found in mitochondria, whereby the first split from wolves occurred around 140,000 years ago.
Horowitz doesn't say this, but I will: This beneficial relationship between dogs and humans allowed both species to thrive. We are meant to live with dogs. In fact, to not have a dog is not human. Think of dogs in the past as the way people view cell phones today. Cell phones have replaced dogs as our constant companions. Cell phones are the new dogs.
I'd rather have a dog.