It’s a saying as old as time, but there’s scientific reasoning behind why dogs are a man’s best friend.
Dogs really are a man’s best friend. They’re there for you when you’re happy, sad and anywhere in between. A constant companion through life. Most dog owners have a strong bond with their bet. In fact, according to Dog Parent Study by BarkBox, 71 percent of dog parents believe that their dog have made them happier people and a staggering 93 percent of participants said that they consider themselves better people overall thanks to their furry, four-legged friend.
But what is it that makes the link between human and dog so strong? The answer to this lies in science.
The science behind happiness
Even a small interaction with a dog can leave you feeling warm and fuzzy inside. The reason for this is Oxytocin, a hormone the body naturally produces and is commonly referred to as the ‘love hormone’, as it promotes feelings of love, social bonding and wellbeing.
Studies have shown that even a brief interaction with a dog can cause the human brain to produce oxytocin. Even the act of gazing into the eyes of your pup can cause a spike in oxytocin levels in not just the human, but in the fur baby, as well.
With so many positive feelings that come out of spending time with dogs, it’s no surprise that community programs like RuffTRACK are so successful.
Community dogs doing their bit
RuffTRACK is a community youth program that harnesses the strong bond humans feel with dogs to take on young people (13-17 years old) who have disengaged with school and the community to help give them skills, education, a sense of self-worth and reconnecting them with their community.
“Our aim is to ‘transform young lives one paw at a time,” says David Graham, RuffTRACK co-founder. “We aim to get kids back to education, give them real skills for a meaningful life, reduce drug intake, eliminate violence, reconnect families, build pride in the community, keep kids out of incarceration and empower them to be the best versions of themselves.”
The ‘Round Yard’ program is a gateway into the full RuffTRACK program and takes participants on a 6 week journey ‘joining up’ with a young dog at a similar stage in life to themselves and working together to accomplish daily goals of manners, communication, overcoming challenges as well as sheep herding, and fun dog Sports such as K9 Super Wall and DockDogs.
When it comes to youth bonding with the RuffTRACK dogs, David says: it’s pure magic. “There is no other word for it, they choose each other, and their journey unfolds from there, on group dog walks through the bush, classroom education under the trees, bonding together through dog sports and sheep herding… it’s magic.”
The RuffTRACK program is designed to encourage young people who are falling through the cracks at no fault of their own to re-integrate into society. This is achieved by skills attained through programs based around building relationships, animal care and training, public speaking, agricultural education, self-generated income projects, community outreach services and connecting to country.
Bruce and the NSW Blues
One of the furry friends at RuffTRACK has taken on an additional role as the NSW Blues mascot. Bruce the Blue Heeler was adopted as the Blues official team mascot as the team get ready to defend their State of Origin Shield next month.
“I think Bruce is a fantastic addition to our team and I’m sure all our passionate fans will get behind him and cheer for him too,” said Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler.
“It’s been a difficult season as we’ve battled bushfires, floods and now a global pandemic over COVID-19. They say that a dog is man’s best friend and Bruce will certainly be a best friend for the NSW Blues and all our fans in these tough times. You might even say he’s Bruce the Blue Healer!
“The Blue Heeler breed is distinctly Australian and also stands for all the same qualities that NSW players do: mateship, loyalty, discipline and work ethic. I can’t wait to see Bruce around camp and I’m sure he’ll give all the boys a real boost when they come together to defend the Shield this season.”
Bruce will join the team for their Origin campaign for the three-game series in November. When he’s not on mascot duties, Bruce will be residing at RuffTRACK Farm at Riverstone in Sydney’s north-west working as a therapy dog with disengaged youth.
Catch a glimpse of Bruce and support the mighty Blues at The Star Sydney this November, where the game will be playing live on the big screen and special food and drink deals on offer.
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