Okay, at least once a day Mara and I remark to each other how smitten we are with our adorable little Sila, and how it's hard imagining what life was like before her. All you pet lovers, you know exactly what I'm talking about.
How do these little creatures evoke so much connection out of us, from day one? It's like she knows exactly how to tug on our heart strings with her loving looks, cooing sounds, occasional whines, and constant snuggles.
Well, according to a recent study reported in the NYT (dog-lovers, go read it!), it turns out she DOES know exactly how to tug on our heart strings. It begins with a dog's gaze. Dogs that gaze at their owners for extended periods of time have elevated levels of oxytocin...the same hormone produced to create bonding between mother and child during birth and breastfeeding, and between couples during intimacy.
According to the researchers, Sila's loving gazing creates an oxytocin chain reaction as we respond by returning eye contact, reaching out in affection, cooing right back, and cuddling to her (and our) heart's content. It's an oxytocin feedback loop that results in happy dogs and owners all over the world.
I'm not sure I needed a study to tell me that having a dog in my life is a good thing and results in deeper bonding, but it sure was fun to read about. Now, if you don't mind, I have a little friend insisting I end this post and start giving belly rubs.
How does your buddy show love or get your attention? Anybody out there like Mara was? She was totally surprised by the power of the connection between dog and human.
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