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Dogs

Ariel Emrani

A Dog State of Mind

Most dogs don’t have bad moods. If they are provided with the food they like, playtime, time to snuggle with you, and a daily walk, they are generally in an outstanding mood. However, they do notice if you are sad, upset, or depressed, and will do all they can to soothe you, cuddling, licking, with genuine concern.

Humans may feel more empathy for and with dogs than with other people! A dog doesn’t judge you, criticize you, or try to change your personality or habits – they are just there, providing companionship and support, every day. A dog in your life can even improve your health – a Swedish study of 3.4 million people found that owning a dog reduced the risk of cardiovascular death by 33 percent. Wow. 

Having a pet has been found to raise the levels of oxytocin, called a “bonding” hormone, in your body. This hormone triggers the bond between mother and baby – and human and dog. It lowers your heart rate and reduces the risk of heart disease and reduces loneliness and depression. Some business owners allow dogs to be present at work, a cheery situation for everyone. Recent research has uncovered an interesting fact – those with a strong affection for a pet also have more concern for the natural world overall. 

Dog Superpowers

Dogs have an incredible ability to enjoy the simple pleasures, and we can learn from that. A walk gives them intense pleasure. While we may not have the olfactory (sense of smell) of a dog, there is something to be said for enjoying the environment, the scent of flowers and fresh-cut lawns, and other sensations, including cold, warmth, physical activity, and conversations or sharing a “hello,” with the neighbors you meet along the way. 

Loyalty, and Unconditional Love: The Dog Way of Life

Dogs are some of the most loyal animals on earth. They love you for yourself, and do not judge, criticize, or expect you to change. As they are focused on just a few important things – eating, sleeping, and playing – they have plenty of time left to spend paying attention to you. Keeping them happy is easy, as a dog won’t make special demands on you, if you feed them, pet them, and spend some time with them. 

Companion Dogs

Companion dogs the “man’s best friend” seriously. They are happiest when they are with you and will follow you wherever you go. Some dog breeds are known as companion dogs, including French bulldogs, like my little Frankie. These dogs are known for being even tempered, calm, and relaxed. He may, from time to time, act crazy, running in mad circles with excitement, but generally he takes life as it comes. 

Life, even at its toughest moments, can be made just a little more positive with some dog love. A dog state of mind is showing gratitude, enthusiasm for the simple pleasures of life, and unconditional love. Why not learn from our creatures?

Dogs or Cats?

It appears the controversy regarding dogs or cats has been part of human culture since time began. Research reveals that people were either dog or cat lovers back to the stone age. 

When Dogs Became Man’s Best Friend

Some archeologists believe that the domestication of dogs began with hunters sharing their meat surplus and scraps with wolves, who eventually became friendly to humankind. Orphaned wolf pups may have been raised, later acting as hunting partners. Archeologists believe that about 40,000 years ago, dog breeds split off from original gray wolf ancestors, eventually becoming the many breeds we know today. 

Various theories exist about how dogs and humans became inseparable, and where and how it began – but the relationship is here to stay. 

Cats and Gods

The ancient Egyptians cherished cats and considered them good luck charms, a reminder of the power of the gods. Cats were not believed to be gods themselves, but vessels that the gods could inhabit. This is believed to be the reason cat mummies are found in Egyptian burial sites.

Recently, archeologists discovered an ancient grave, where a human and a cat were buried together, predating the Egyptian cat obsession by more than 4,000 years. Stone and clay figures of cats 10,000 years old have been found in Syria, Turkey, and Israel. So, cats have held meaning in human lives since ancient times. It makes sense, as cats are natural allies in the human battle to protect food stores from rodents.

Pet Personalities: The Difference Between Cats and Dogs

People who love dogs (meet my French bulldog, Frankie, sweetest guy around) appreciate the unconditional love, loyalty, and affectionate nature of dogs. Dog-lovers may find cats standoffish and see them as less loyal than the honorable dog. Cat lovers contend that the intelligence, agility, and independence of cats makes them a superior pet. 

Dogs and Cats are… Related!

Surprisingly, dogs and cats are closely related as species. Both animals are of the species order “carnivora,” which sounds like they eat meat, but refers to their teeth. The common ancestors of cats and dogs was a species called “miacids,” which were long-bodied creatures that once lived throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. These tree-living creatures are said to have appeared a few million years after the extinction of dinosaurs and are the ancestors of both cats and dogs. 

As the animals continued to change over time, they split into two distinct types of carnivora – dog-like (caniformia) and cat-like (feliformia) – which is supposed to have happened about 43 million years ago. Cats and dogs can be friends in a household, or arch enemies, or change from day to day or hour to hour. 

It’s Raining Cats and Dogs?

The phrase “raining cats and dogs” is first found in Tudor times, but the origin of the phrase is in dispute. Some claim it is related to the fact that back in the day, domestic cats and dogs lived in the upper level of a home, beneath the thatched roof. In a heavy rain, when the roof would become heavy with water, driving the pets lower in the home – or raining cats and dogs. Cats could easily perch on the rafters, but dogs? Doesn’t seem likely. Another idea is that during a big storm, stray cats and dogs would drown and be washed into the streets, making it appear that it rained cats and dogs, a more gruesome origin story. Other word-obsessed historians believe the phrase goes back to Norse mythology. The Vikings believed cats influenced the weather, and dogs gusts of wind. Those are just a few of the current theories behind the saying!

Love dogs? A cat-lover? Whatever your inclination, sharing your home and life with a pet is part of the human experience that brings joy to our lives.

Ariel Emrani

My Frenchie, Frankie – Small Body, Big Personality

Frankie, my French bulldog, is small in stature, but he has a bigger-than-life personality. French bulldogs are known for being friendly and are bred to be companion dogs. Frankie is one of my best friends. He has a playful personality and loves to cuddle with me during one of his many naps of the day. 

French bulldogs are known for having deep devotion to their owners, and Frankie is no exception – his entire body goes into convulsions of joy whenever I come in the door. These dogs are also known for making weird noises, including snoring, farting, wheezing, and snorting, not all of which are endearing, so I watch his diet closely! 

French bulldogs have sensitive digestive systems, as the flattened face of the breed causes them to swallow air as they gobble down food. Just like humans, Frenchies can be lactose intolerant and shouldn’t eat dairy, fermentable foods, spicy foods, or many carbohydrates, no matter how much they want a taste! These dogs (like most dogs) almost inhale their food, swallowing it in gulps, and slowing it down can keep their tummies happier. 

Frankie is very energetic, and just like all animals, he needs exercise to maintain his trim figure. As he is a little guy with short legs, walks are not long, but he enjoys every second of his outdoor time, sniffing, walking, stopping, and meeting other dogs and the friends he makes in the neighborhood. As long as Frankie is treated like a prince, eats a strict diet, and is given love in abundance, he is happy, energetic, and always affectionate. 

What is a “Brachycephalic Breed?”

Bulldogs, and French bulldogs specifically, are called a brachycephalic breed – which means “short-headed.” The cute, flat skull shape is believed to have begun with a genetic mutation, which people found adorable. The cute, puppy-like face has been rigorously bred into French Bulldogs over the years. 

The History of Dog Breeding

Dogs have served humankind forever, alerting settlements to intruders, catching, and eating rats and other vermin, and providing warmth and comfort during the winter months. It is believed that dogs were originally bred to have the loudest bark to alert their owners of invaders. Dog breeding, as is done today, started in the 19th century. The original categories were just three: hunting dog, herding dog, and lap dog. Breeding was later expanded into bloodlines and specific breeds. There are now more than 400 recognized breeds of dogs exhibited at dog shows and a range of other dog-related events. Every breed exhibits significant differences in personality and is unique in intelligence. Frankie is a genuine original, smart, friendly, and funny.

For Frankie, it’s all about Games.

Frankie, like other French bulldogs, loves a good game. A tug-of-war with a toy, a game of fetch, or hide-and-seek – he’s always ready to give it his all when it is time to play a game. We have a real relationship – I keep him happy, and he keeps me happy, the perfect friendship! 

Ariel Emrani

A Sleepy Day with Frankie

Some people think French bulldogs are lazy – that’s not quite true. Frankie enjoys his sleep and spends many hours each day day napping or deep in sleep. French bulldogs need a lot of rest, and typically sleep for about for about 60 percent of each day. 

The funny part is that when the nap is over, Frankie is full-on ready to respond to a knock on the door, or just to madly run around in circles in the house or yard, back and forth through the house with crazy bursts of energy – a trait called FRAPs, for “frenetic random activity periods,” or “the zoomies.” 

After a restful nap, Frankie is ready for a snack. He wants to eat everything, but needs to be monitored, as he has a sensitive stomach, and I need to watch his weight, so he stays healthy and fit for as long as possible. He’ll overeat if I let him, so I keep him on a strict, healthy dog diet. 

The Frenchie – The Journey from Brothels to the Laps of Royals

The French Bulldog breed is an offshoot of the English Toy Bulldog. During the Industrial Revolution, thousands of lace workers lost their jobs as lacemaking machines took over. These talented lacemakers chose to cross the English Channel and settle in Normandy, where their skills were still valued, carrying their English Toy Bulldogs along with them. 

From there, it is believed that the English Toy Bulldog was bred with the terrier, leading to those distinctive bat-like ears, and the name “French Bulldog.”

Le Belle Epoque and the Frenchie: Rags to Riches

In the Montmartre neighborhood of Paris during the “Belle Epoque,” when optimism, prosperity, when post-impressionist art flourished, the brothel scene was in full swing. Works of art depicted Parisian café and street life. The frivolity and gaiety of the era meant brothels were busy places, and the French bulldog became the signature pup accompanying the “women of the night” Adorable French Bulldogs began appearing in works by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, who painted a Frenchie called “Bouboule” (loosely translated to “tubby”).

As these little dogs gained in popularity, they began appearing on the laps of European royals, from the Romanovs to King Edward VIII, photographed with his Frenchie, Peter. The fad was soon picked up by Americans – and the love of the Frenchie in our country continues to this day. The world’s first “French Bulldog Club” was established in the USA, and the bat ears standardized as a breed feature. 

Frankie is a smart dog, but obedience may not be his strongest point. He is a sensitive creature who shows his emotions and loves to cuddle up as often as possible. He’s loyal, funny, and always ready for an adventure, whether tearing around the yard madly, or a stately walk through the neighborhood, with his royal roots on full display.