Dogs are too good for us. Here’s how they help us evolve.

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My dog when I first got him and now. Image source: JUICE Malaysia

I was jamming some sick djent music with a friend at his home in Setapak back in ’02, when his dog started furiously barking at something. The barks were so loud that they had seeped into our little make-shift, heavily sound-proofed home studio.

We investigated, and lo and behold, there was a cobra in the house! Thankfully, his dog had alerted us and we were able to get his elderly parents safely outside where we waited for PERHILITAN to remove the snake.

Needless to say, dogs have helped humans throughout history, keeping us safer from unseen threats and defending us when necessary.

Ever since this animal, in its wild wolf form, made eye contact with early humans, a bond was forged. It is as though there was some unwritten agreement between us and dogs that the latter would stay forever by our side as our loyal companions and defenders. We accepted dogs into our homes and they accepted us as part of their pack.

But dogs didn’t stop there. They were enlisted into the police force and army, and employed as farm helpers, sleigh pullers, and caretakers for the blind, traumatised, and ill. During the pandemic, they even sniffed out COVID-19, providing early detection of the virus.

Heck, dogs even beat man to space. Tragically, they gave their lives, thanks to the Soviet Union, so that men in spacesuits could safely explore the cosmos.

Laika, the first living being to orbit Earth aboard the satellite Sputnik 2 on 3 Nov 1957. Image source: Wikipedia (L), GALILEO (R)

Humans slept better after dogs entered their lives and we still do.

Early humans were constantly on fight-or-flight mode before they had dogs. With the danger of attacks from rival tribes and wild animals greatly reduced, our ancestors were finally able to fall into deep sleep for the first time in history.

As our brains developed due to the regulation of neuroreceptors through proper sleep, people became friendlier. Our nervous systems took a break, and although life was still hard, we became more co-operative and empathethic.

There is running theory based on Darwinism that suggests all of nature is a game of ‘survival of the fittest’, explaining why humans are inherently aggressive when resources are scarce.

I believe this theory to err by generalisation and reducing humanity to nothing but a colony of ants that would decapitate any other insect in their path. (Sure, ants have their place in the world, but we can’t say much about their personality).

Much of our progress was achieved through co-operation and consensus. Nations are built on these principles, otherwise, they would be dictatorships.

And to think, all of this started with dogs sleeping by our side. Without them, humanity would have turned out very different.

So the next time you are rudely awoken by your neighbour’s dogs or stray dogs barking, remember this, you owe them.

Famed loyal dog, Hachiko waited for his master’s return at Shibuya Station, Tokyo, every day for more than 9 years after his death. Image source: Kabarpalu (L), Asahi (R) 

Dogs still help us sleep better today…

There are numerous studies that point towards dogs assisting us in getting better sleep. This is a no-brainer. We might be out of the jungle, but the city can still be a dangerous place.

While they still do their job of guarding us, dogs are also, well, cute and adorable. They are naturally lovable just like any other domesticated pet. Just ask any pet lover and they’ll tell you that their pet is like a member of the family.

In our modern world, anxiety and depression pose more clear and present danger than a break-in. Many dog-owners can attest to how their pets have saved their lives, and not just physically. Just the presence of a living being who cares for you makes a big difference in our daily lives and mental health.

Dogs, and other animals who come to this calling (yes, that includes you cats too), are an essential part of our society. They continue to help us to evolve into better versions of ourselves.

Lately, and pretty frequently, there have been cases of animal abuse making headlines. It seems that everyone gets worked up and then forgets about the issue until another case pops up. And most of the time, animal abuse in Malaysia involves dogs.

Our good intentions will only take us so far. Until we realise they have more to do with our history and progress than previously admitted, dogs will be generally treated as lesser beings meant to obey us when they are so much more than that.

You should seriously consider adopting one of these guys. Image source: Malaysian Dogs Deserve Better

If you want to help stray dogs and cats find a forever home, please adopt from or donate to PAWS, SPCA (Selangor), SPCA (Penang), Second Chance Animal Society, Malaysian Dogs Deserve Better or any reputable shelter.

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