It may not be groundbreaking news to you - but scientists have recently found out that dogs not only know when humans are sad, but they actually want to help us feel better! And if you've ever been licked on the face by a dog ... you'll know that they're pretty good at cheering people up. This weekend is your chance to give a little back to man's (and woman's) best friends.
In what sounds like a very adorable experiment, dogs (who lived with people, not lab dogs) were introduced to strangers who had to display all different emotions. When the person was pretending to cry, the majority of dogs would run over and try to comfort them. They would nuzzle and lick the person - apparently a doggie's way of saying, "there there, don't cry". Nawww. How sweet is that? Claims that the dogs would then offer to spend the night on the couch with the upset person eating soy ice-cream and watching Big Brother are yet to be proven. I bet they would though, dogs are that awesome.
This weekend you have the chance to return the favour, and help dogs who are in distress! There are rallies planned for Sunday in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide to support Oscar's Law (a campaign to ban the breeding of dogs in puppy mills, and to promote the adoption of companion animals through shelters and rescue groups).
The conditions that dogs endure at puppy mills are heartbreaking. "Many dogs slowly go insane. They spin in circles or pace back and forth in their cells, some never see daylight, and the outside world is a foreign place to them ... They shy away from human hands as they have never known kindness. The dogs are deprived of even their basic needs as the current law is only concerned with food, shelter and water. The dog's psychological and social needs are ignored on factory farms." This is just part of a description of puppy farms from oscarslaw.org.
Also, the breeding of more dogs on these puppy farms only adds to the dog overpopulation problem in Australia. Already 23 dogs and cats are killed every hour around the country because they don't have homes. This is a cruel fate for these animals who would love nothing more than to share hugs and pats with a family of their own.
So this Sunday, make time to help out dogs in distress. You can show your support at these places and times.
Melbourne: Parliament House, midday.
Sydney: Belmore Park (opp. Central Station), midday.
Adelaide: Light Square (Curry St.), midday.
p.s. Animals Australia will be holding stalls at all three rallies, so make sure you come and say 'hi!' and find out what else you can do to help animals.