Scrolling through a weekly email sent by the Tri-State Coalition, a group of animal rescues/shelters of which the Midlands Humane Society is a member, along with others from Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota, my attention was caught by an article.

It was written by Nadyat El Gawley, a radio producer, community arts worker and educator and is entitled, “Why Dogs Change Us.” Dogs are now considered to be members of our families, and for some of us that’s a welcome change.

But why do we connect with them so deeply? And does the dog benefit at all?

Her dog, Claude, helped her through a very dark time after the death of her mother. She writes, “All he asked was to be walked, fed, and treated with respect. And he wanted to play, distracting me from myself — from the constant urge to shut the world out, to hide, and sink into the enticing deep depression I was succumbing to.”

Nadyat continues, “It took me a long time to see him. The grief was blinding, and it was many months before I could fully appreciate the privilege of having a dog. Claude, in many ways, saved my life.”

To learn more about this curious relationship, Nadyat reached out for more answers from Marc Bekoff, professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado.

According to Dr. Bekoff, “Not all humans bond with, or even like dogs. And those who do, need to be aware of the demands we place on them. A lot of homed dogs are very highly stressed because we ask them to adapt to our life…You know, when they play, when they can eat, when they can sleep and when they can hang out with their friends.

“The gifts dogs give humans are tangible. People stop and talk to the dog, smile and say kind words before going on their way. The dog changes that moment for both humans. The owner gets to meet people, and the people get comfort and joy from interacting with the dog.

“Where once, dogs were relegated to living in the backyard, on a chain in many cases and viewed as simply guard dogs — they are now welcomed into the home, on the couch and even into our beds.”

We see these human-animal bonds at the Midlands Humane Society all the time. We see the joy in adopting a new dog. We work with the adopter who might be overcoming some challenges in a newly adopted dog. We see the sorrow when it’s time for a beloved pet to cross the rainbow bridge. And we see the desire in our staff and volunteers who want to help animals every day have the best life possible.

Having just experienced Wag-A-Grams 2020, our handlers and their Canine Cupids got to share the best parts of their dogs with the world. From delivering Valentine’s Day greetings amid office cubicles, to a preschool class, a nursing home, the police station, an auto parts department and numerous homes, people’s faces light up when they see a dog trot down the hallway.

If nothing else, dogs take away some of our nervousness, some of our introverted behaviors, and some of our selfishness. They allow us to take care of another living creature that truly gives back more than it takes.

MHS Pets of the Week

Bennie Boo is an 8-month-old neutered male domestic shorthair. This gorgeous grey guy is looking for love and maybe another kitty to play with.

Biscuit is a 1-year-old neutered male Labrador Retriever mix, who is for the most part, your typical young dog. He loves to play with toys, snuggle with people and wrestle with other dogs. After arriving at MHS, he displayed some neurological issues which led to him losing his balance, walking unsteadily, and at times tripping or falling over. He was diagnosed with meningitis and treated over a few weeks. Biscuit still has a wobbly gait which makes his stumble sometimes, but he is otherwise a healthy young dog. Biscuit is currently in a foster home and doing very well. His foster family reports he is potty trained, not destructive and working on crate training. They recommend a home where someone is home often and one with other dogs to play with.

Due to his size and unpredictable stumbling, we recommend kids around 10 or older. Biscuit is not suitable for apartment living. Biscuit will be shown by appointment only; please contact Rachael at rwilson@midlandshumanesociety.org or (712)396-2265 for more information.

Drake is a 6-year-old neutered male German Shepherd. This big guy is a laid-back gentleman who will be a great addition to a quiet home. He seems to get along with almost everyone, but true to the breed he will bark to alert his person of anything out of the ordinary. We think Drake would do well with kids over 8 and another calm dog. Breed experience is a plus and he is not suitable for apartment life.

Goose is a fun-loving guy. Come adopt him.

Come visit these and all their friends today at the Midlands Humane Society, 1020 Railroad Avenue. We are open Monday – Friday 12 noon to 6 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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