National Dog Month in the US occurs during August and celebrates our canine companions. As any dog lover will attest, it is unsurprising that dogs are steadily the #1 pet of choice the world over.
This could be due to the unique bond that many of us seem to develop with our furry friends.
Research has shown that we show such great empathy with dogs, that it often leads us to consider them part of the family, rather than simply a ‘pet’.
As well as helping to keep us fit and healthy with daily walks and lots of ball games, studies even show that dogs can improve our mood and lower stress.
A bit of time spent outdoors in green spaces is often lauded as a simple and effective way of lifting our spirits and increasing our well-being, so this could go some way to explaining why.
However, an article in Psychology Today also claims that spending time with dogs – especially petting and cuddling them - increases your levels of oxytocin (the so-called “love hormone”) which calms your nervous system, and can lead to reduced anxiety and increased feelings of social bonding.
There are surely many people who will identify with those findings. So much affection is often sparked in us by a little tilt of the head, frantic burrowing in blankets, leaping and barking with joy as we return from work, and being stared at with those puppy dog eyes.
The journal Scientific Reports published a study which found that dogs have actually evolved the ability to use facial expressions differentially depending on their audience - raising their eyebrows or making their eyes bigger when they are looking for attention from a particular person - and concluded it could be a route of communication between owner and pet. One of the authors of the study – Bridget Waller, professor of evolutionary psychology at the University
of Portsmouth – said “[The research] tells us that their facial expressions are probably responsive to humans — not just to other dogs”.
The bond between humans and dogs is certainly a joy to behold, as are the many artful depictions of our puppy pals. Such work includes...
French Post-Impressionist artist Paul Gauguin’s Still Life with Three Puppies,1888, in which he leaves Impressionism behind and explores Expressionism, playing with a two-dimensional viewpoint, colour and grouping...
His Master’s Voice by English painter Francis Barraud in,1898, which depicts a Jack Russell terrier with his head cocked as he curiously listens to a wind up gramophone. This image was later adopted and became known as one of most famous commercial logos in the world – for British record label HMV...
Pablo Picasso’s various depictions of Lump - a rascally Daschund with whom he had an adorably fond friendship. Picasso is said to have commented “Lump, he’s not a dog, he’s not a little man, he’s somebody else”. His simple line painted representations of Lump perfectly embody the simplicity and purity of their relationship.
Modern day art is inspired still by our four-legged friends, and we have a wide range of bronze sculpture, original paintings, and limited edition prints available on our website from popular contemporary artists like Aaminah Snowdon, Nicky Litchfield, and Josie Appleby.