Monday, August 17, 2009

Puppy Love

Surfing the Web can be both inspiring and interrupting. Often we can click away on a trail of links that lead nowhere, but on occasion you land on a page that banishes emails, spreadsheets, and meeting planners to the furthest reaches of your mind and strikes right at your heart. You can’t help but fall in love when you visit The Daily Puppy. Front and center is the day’s cutest pup, eyes staring back at you, cuteness factor off the scale. You just can’t help but feel good. The website is a fantastic resource too, offering advice on grooming, health, and training. Just don’t show this website to your kids, or you could find yourself with an immediate request for a new addition to the family.

As a Lovemark, it’s hard to beat a puppy. In fact, dogs are literally good for you – levels of stress drop by 17% for hospital patients visited by volunteers with dogs. So we love dogs, and dogs love us. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that at least for the dog, it’s not necessarily the case. Psychologist Brian Hare of Harvard University has studied the human-animal bond and reports that “dogs are astonishingly skilled at reading humans' patterns of social behavior, especially behaviors related to food and care. They figure out our moods and what makes us happy, what moves us. Then they act accordingly, and we tell ourselves that they're crazy about us. It appears that dogs have evolved specialized skills for reading human social and communicative behavior". When it comes to interpersonal relationships, we obviously still have a lot to learn from the animal kingdom.

Some probably won’t believe the human-dog bond is a manipulation on the dog’s part, but does it matter if it's true? In our hyper-measured world, people are searching for emotion that feels real, and on these terms then surely a dose of Maximus (above) is worth a few clicks a day?