Feb. 3rd, 2002
Mrs. Boothman Duyck
Mans Best Friend
Who do you consider your best friend? Is it the person you grew up with? Is it your husband or wife? For many it is someone that is always theyre for them when sad or lonely, or when one needs to talk, cry, or laugh. However, thousands of Americans are turning to their dogs for a favorite companion. This paper will explore the enduring phrase Mans Best Friend and the loyalty, faithfulness, intelligence, and companionship shared by dogs and masters that make this statement true.
Some might ask, why would anyone consider a dog their best friend? For many dog owners the answer would be loyalty. In a story from the Christian Science Monitor author William H. Carlile wrote, There is a hero on West Eunice Street just outside the suburb of Tucson: a two-year-old female English Springer Spaniel named Brandy. She is credited by law-enforcement officials with attacking and chasing off an intruder last year at the home of her owners, Jerry and Kendal Plank, despite having been shot five times by a 9mm semiautomatic machine gun.(11) This story is an excellent example of the loyalty a dog can acquire towards its masters, to be able to protect and even save lives. Loyalty is a very common trait given to dogs by their owners. Many of those who talk of the loyalty their dogs have for them will also have an incredible story to back up their beliefs. In an article in The Australian, an experienced hunter fell into a ravine and was unable to get out. He was there for five days before rescuers found him; they reported that temperatures fell below freezing at night and it rained three of the five nights (007). His dog Bee, was able to get out of the ravine but decided to stay with his masters. Searcher Brent Keightley said, If it wasnt for the dog, Des wouldnt have survived. The article tells of how the dog slept with him to keep him warm during the freezing nights (007). This story not only demonstrates loyalty but also the faithfulness that a dog and master often share.
Mans Best Friend is often considered a household phrase. Many people think of the loyalty of a dog when they here this saying, but for some it is also the loyalty of the owner and the friendship that builds between them. For an old baseball coach of mine it is not only a household saying but also the story of his relationship to his dog. Cassie, a black lab, went with him everywhere. Being a baseball coach, fireman, owner of a Construction Company, husband, and father of two this provides many places for Cassie to travel along side her owner. From games and practices to the work site of his construction jobs, she was always there to keep him company. As long as I have spent time around the two, he has talked to Cassie as if she were one of his kids. Stories like this can be found across the nation, proving that it is not just a few people who share a relationship at this level with their dogs.
Many people have researched and studied the intelligence of dogs. However, I was unable to find any information that even compared to a newspaper article I found out of the Christian Science Monitor:
Dusty, a two year-old bichon frise from Ely, Minn. Dusty was in a car driven by owner Joel Ward when it ran off a rain-soaked dirt road and tumbled into a forest. Even though he had been thrown from the car, Dusty made his way back to the road and jumped up and down in the middle of the road until a passing motorist called for help. Dusty then went back and stood guard over Mr. Ward until rescuers came. (Carlile, 11)
As I have shown here a dog can prove to be more than just a family pet. Many dogs become as closely attached to their owners as their owners are to them.
Some pet owners find that their dogs seem to understand them more than they had ever imagined. In a newspaper article for the Dallas Morning News author Ira J. Hadnot wrote, Just as people select dogs, she says, dogs also select people for exclusive companionship. In such close relationships, the dogs can read their companions emotions and moods, she argues. These were the words of anthropologist Elizabeth Marshall Thomas (Hadnot). My dog Shasta, for instance, somehow knows when I am in playful moods, bad moods, or just being lazy. Almost anytime I am in a playful mood she will either come up to me with a ball or attack me, wanting to wrestle. One night, during my junior year of high school, I came home from a State Playoff soccer game and Shasta was the only being I wanted around me. During that game I had hyper-extended my knee and that night my parents were trying to get me to go to the doctor. Beside the fact that it was late I was in no mood to go anywhere. We had just lost the quarter finals game. So when I got home I went straight to my room where Shasta was waiting, excited to see me. I locked the door and lay down on my bed. All night I ignored everyone in my family, everyone except Shasta. She kept me company that night and was even able to bring a smile to my face. It seemed as though she knew I was sad, and so she would do something just goofy and out of nowhere to try and comfort me. For example, I specifically remember her rolling over to have me scratch her belly, except she didnt realize how close to the edge of the bed she was and ended up falling right onto the floor. Although I cant prove that she did it on purpose to entertain me, there was just something in her face that showed she knew exactly what she was doing.
There are two sides to dogs being stated as Mans Best Friend. We have explored the pet to master relationship, but we must also consider the loyalty and friendship put out by pet owners to their pet companions. An article from the Chicago Tribune states that, there are 58 million dogs in the United States, and 62 percent of them receive Christmas gifts.(Mosley) Dogs are becoming more and more a part of the family. My girlfriends family had their annual family pictures taken in December, but this year they decided to include their two Chihuahuas in the pictures. In a recent article of the Augusta Chronicle I found a story about a bakery and gift shop that is literally just for dogs. Author John Bankston quoted owner Marie Andrews with saying, It may look good, and it may smell good in here, but these goodies are for dogs. This has turned out to be a successful business, and many bakeries for pets can be found across the nation (Bankston). Through my research and knowledge of being a pet owner I have found that most people love to spoil their pets. Everyone wants the best for their children and they are beginning to feel the same way about their pets.
The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him and the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog, (AP Worldstream). These were the words of lawyer, George Graham Vest, in his closing argument in an 1870-court trial of the murder of one mans dog (AP Worldstream). This paper has demonstrated how a dog can be a loyal companion, whether for work, home, or play. Also, for some people, like myself, dogs can prove to be there to cheer you up when you are sad or lonely. And sometimes they seem to provide pure enjoyment and entertainment through their intelligence and friendliness. This statement, Mans Best Friend, will continue to prove itself true for years to come, with new exciting and fun stories for everyone to enjoy.
Bankston, John. Augusta, Ga., Bakery Caters to Mans Best Friend.
Augusta Chronicle 23 Nov. 2001
Carlile, William H. Mans Best Friend is also Lifesaving Hero and Protector.
Christian Science Monitor 23 Oct. 1997, Vol. 89 Issue 230, p11, 1c
Hadnot, Ira J. Mans Best Friend Understands Us Better than We Think, Researcher
Suggests. Dallas Morning News 8 Sep. 2000
Mosley, Ray. For Our Best Friends, a New French Perfume That Smells Like Puppies.
Chicago Tribune 22 Dec. 2000
N. A. Courtroom Eulogy for a Dog was Phrases Origin, Exhibit says With FEA-
Mans Best Friend-Eulogy. AP Worldstream 15 May. 2001
N.A. This Mans Best Friend Kept Him Alive for Five Days.
Australian 15 Aug. 2001 ed.: 1. Section: World, pg. 007