Understanding the Effects of Rescue Shelters from a Dog's Perspective

Traditionally, humans acquired canines to serve functional purposes (Marston & Bennett, 2003). We have been able to document a relationship between humans and dogs as far back as twelve thousand years. As our ancestors began to become less nomadic, they settled down and started forming small communities where they learned to grow crops and raise livestock (Horowitz, 2009). These settled communities were sufficiently stable and it wasn’t long before wild animals began noticing that they produced a large amount of waste. Wolves are scavengers as well as hunters and may have been some of the first animals to discover this squander treasure (Horowitz, 2009). The least fearful of these wolves became increasingly undaunted by the presence of the unfamiliar humans. Together the two species began to tolerate one another through prolonged encounters until finally, humans began taking in a few pups as “pets” or, in times of hardship, “food.” Eventually, our ancestors began intentionally breeding these “domesticated” wolves to serve as assistant hunters and protectors (Horowitz, 2009). We can only surmise that the functionality of these domestic wolves served a great purpose; for what other reason would justify letting a meat-eater into one’s home? It would be difficult to provide provisions for such an animal and if one were unsuccessful, they befall a risk of becoming their pet wolf’s next meal. In present day, people adopt canines for numerous reasons. The most common reported reason for acquiring a canine is for companionship, followed by promotion of exercise, proceeded by protection, and finally for breeding or showing (Jagoe & Serpell, 1996). A study performed by Andrew Jagoe and James Serpell (1996) revealed that dogs acqui... ... middle of paper ... ...ell, V. (2008). Inside animal minds. National Geographic, 213 (3), 37 – 61. Marston, L. C. & Bennett, P. C. (2003). Reforging the bond – towards successful canine adoption. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 83 (3), 227 – 245. Tuber, D. S., Miller, D. D., Caris, K. A., Halter, R., Linden, F., & Hennessy, M. B. (1999). Dogs in animal shelters: Problems, suggestions, and needed expertise. American Psychological Society, 10 (5), 379 – 386. Tynes, V. V. (2007). Canine housetraining challenges. Veterinary Medicine, 102, 254 – 262. Wells, D. L. (2003). A review of environmental enrichment for kenneled dogs, Canis familiaris. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 85 (3 – 4), 307 – 317. Wells, D. L. & Hepper, P. G. (1998). A note on the influence of visual conspecific contact on the behaviour of sheltered dogs. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 60 (1), 83 – 88.

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