A Dog About Love

(from Danny)

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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  1. Sarah April 22, 2015 at 1:14 am - Reply

    I love this so much! I am a dog lover, avid rescuer and have two little guys of my own. And they add joy to my day every single day. Just by being them. I even get joy out of caring for them. It's just a really beautiful thing. Too bad we can't bring personal pets along to Ecuador 🙂 (although mine haven't ever flown, so I'm doubting it would be a good idea even if it were possible.)

    Dogs – really truly are mans (and womens) best friends. And how beautiful is that! I'm so happy you have your sweet puppy now to experience that with.

  2. christina April 22, 2015 at 5:10 pm - Reply

    In all seriousness, sometimes I think I love my dog too much. I spend a lot of time just gazing at him, and feeling overwhelmingly lucky that out of the 7 billion people in the world, my husband and I are the 2 that get to be his people. I really do wonder how I will ever be happy after he eventually makes his transition to the afterbeyond. Pink is by far our biggest joy and he's such a good role model in the attitude department – he seemingly NEVER has a bad day and is equally content going on an adventure as he is spending a lazy Sunday lounging around the house. He seems to enjoy being alive just for the sake of being alive!

  3. leah May 7, 2015 at 1:03 am - Reply

    This makes prefect sense to me. They say people with dogs have less heart attacks too. Just having a dog in the room is reassuring.

  4. Michelle Bunt May 8, 2015 at 11:07 am - Reply

    I am like this with my cat Jaxx. There's no one I love coming home to more after a long or stressful day, and no one I miss as much when I'm on holiday. (Seriously after even 2 nights away from home I'm texting cat feeder requesting pictures or updates on how much he's eating or what he's doing!)

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