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Dogs: More Than Just Mans Best Friend - Essay Example

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We invite them into our homes, feed and groom them and take them to the vet clinic when they are not well. Memories of our childhood wouldn't be complete without our pets. Touted as "man's best friend", dogs are loving animals that could easily become a part of our family because pets have feelings and emotions and many are similar to our own…
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Dogs: More Than Just Mans Best Friend
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Download file to see previous pages It is related to wolves, foxes, and jackals. For more than 12,000 years, dogs have existed with humans as a hunting companion, protector, object of scorn or adoration, and friend. The dog has evolved from similar (that is, undifferentiated) fur-bearing animals into more than 400 distinct breeds. Human beings have played a major role in creating dogs that fulfill distinct societal needs. Through the most rudimentary form of genetic engineering, dogs were bred to accentuate instincts that were evident from their earliest encounters with humans. Although details about the evolution of dogs are uncertain, the first dogs were hunters with keen senses of sight and smell. Humans developed these instincts and created new breeds as need or desire arose (Encyclopdia Britannica, 2006).
Actually, there is a long standing controversy as to where dogs come from. The current belief is that dogs started out originally as wolves. Early in our history we domesticated the wolf and that eventually became our pet dog. There are a couple problems with this theory, however, such as the fact that many wolves have oval pupils in their eyes, not the round pupils of domestic dogs, and wolves don't sweat through the bottom of their paws, the way that dogs do. None the less, if you bred a dog and a wolf together they would produce live and fertile offspring, just like the Great Dane and the Pekingese, which is usually the sign that we are dealing with the same species. Another candidate for the grandfather of the dog is the jackal. Now that's not as popular as the wolf. In his stories, Farley Mowat writes about wolves and makes them all seem like elegant and noble animals. On the other hand, jackals are smelly little garbage eaters, and we don't want to think of the fact that the great grandfather of the dog sleeping at the foot of our bed was a smelly little garbage eater. However, jackals have the familiar round pupils in their eyes, they do sweat through their paws, and we can successfully interbreed domesticated dogs with jackals and produce live offspring. If we are using interbreeding ability as the measure of ancestry, it is important to note that we can also interbreed dogs with dingoes, with coyotes, and the various African wild dogs. We can't interbreed dogs with the common red fox, because it has got the wrong number of chromosomes. However, there are several different kinds of foxes, such as the Arctic Fox and the Niger Black Fox, which in fact can breed with dogs and produce those live, fertile offspring that suggest that we are dealing with, if not the same species, certainly species with the same great grandfather ("Dogs and People: The History and Psychology of a Relationship", 1996).
With regards to dogs, there's something we need to reconsider and take a vigilant look at a different annual statistic: the millions of dogs are sent to shelters or left to die on the streets. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. Every dog who dies as a result of pet overpopulation-whether humanely in a shelter or by injury, disease, or neglect-is an animal who would have made a wonderful companion, if given the chance. This burgeoning problem of pet overpopulation could be easily solved if each of American takes just one small step, starting with preventing our pets to breed unnecessarily.
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