Dogs get a lot of credit, and as they should. They have been there in our most intimate moments the ups and the downs, the good times and the bad. Even though they can’t speak a single word, through their giant eyes they convey a world of compassion, caring, and empathy. They are the guardians of our homes, protectors of our loved ones, and workers of our farms. Through the thousands of years of loyal companionship it is only right to journey through history to learn how man’s best friend became man’s best friend.
It was about 33,000 years ago where we find Canis Lupus, the grey wolf. Part of the Canid family, it consists mostly of wolves, foxes and dogs. They traveled in packs throughout what it is now known as the Altai Mountains of east central Asia. Here they behaved how any modern pack dog would. They traveled and hunted in groups, moving through the seasons, they migrated throughout the inland valleys.
On occasion these packs would run into man made settlements. These settlements were fairly new idea as early human civilization is starting to learn how to settle down. Early man were primitive and migratory hunters. They moved from camp site to camp site, foraging and gathering. Man learned that Settling down, rather than being migratory nomads, had its advantages. They learned how to domesticate sheep’s and goats, and many years later, learned to grow crops.
It was theorized that these packs were the ones that approached man first.
These dogs most likely ate garbage and rats from early settlements. Aggressive dogs would often be killed, leaving friendlier dogs behind. Over time these aboriginal dogs adapted and evolved. They developed splotchy fur, floppy ears, and wagging tails. They also developed a sense of reading peoples facial expressions, a unique skill that only dogs and dolphins possess.
Early man sensed these changes too. Since these aboriginal dogs ate scraps, man noticed cleaner campsites void of rats and garbage. This decreased the rate of dysentery and other health issues, which gave settlers longer lives and easier living. They also noticed that these dogs acted like an early warning detectors, alerting tribes to possible attacks from bigger predators.
As they become more acclimated to each other, Man and animal started a communal relationship. These descendents of wolves helped man hunt prey and guard villages. They would allow man to strap packs to their backs, or help herd sheep. These practices still continues today in our modern society.
This relationship not only occurred in the Atlai mountains, but all over the world. A synergy of dog and man has blossomed into something greater and more fulfilling than a communal relationship. With pets being so prevalent in our society, it seems so natural having an animal in your home. We still have much to learn from each other, but it has been made abundantly clear that we must continue to celebrate our relationship with these animals as they have certainly shaped the foundation of our civilization.
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