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Unconditional Love

Once hunters and protectors, today's dogs have been promoted to family members. here's how to choose, train and love a dog
Stacey C. Rivera
From the Print Edition:
Kevin Bacon, May/Jun 00

(continued from page 4)

As dogs become more integrated into their owners' lives, a growing number of services are becoming available. In the hotel industry, for instance, many establishments are now providing accommodations for the dogs of guests. The field of veterinary care has made great strides towards curing diseases and extending life. Pet therapy is also an expanding field. "Pet therapy is very valid, and people willing to make that investment, bless them, because that investment can pay off in many ways," says Hawk. "By initiating drug therapy or behavioral changes, you have created an animal that can be part of the family instead of ending up in a shelter or being put down. We all need help occasionally, and so do our pets."  

Many people still view pet owners as nuisance neighbors. In an attempt to assuage some of the fears and create confidence in a pet's behavior, the AKC has developed the Canine Good Citizen Program, in which all dogs, purebreds or mutts, can pass a series of obedience tests and be certified to behave well in society. "There is a tremendous movement now among housing people who do not want dogs in their buildings because they think they are nuisances. With a Canine Good Citizen Certificate, a board can be sure that a dog is well behaved," Dibra says.  

Perhaps what is needed is a better understanding between people. Those who don't love dogs can't understand why most dog owners admit to having regular conversations with their pups and to calling them by a diminutive. Or why more than 50 percent of dog owners refer to themselves as Mommy or Daddy. For those who do not love dogs, it is hard to understand why people subject themselves to the sometimes unpleasant aspects of owning a dog. To them, Dibra asks, "What is the point of living if you don't have a dog?"  

Christine Merrill is exclusively represented by The William Secord Gallery Inc. in New York City. For more information, call 212-249-0075 or visit its Web site, www.dogpainting.com.    

MASTER'S CHOICE  

Find which dog best suits your personality, according to Why We Love the Dogs We Do, by Stanley coren.  

If you're this sort of person... EXTROVERTED

Outgoing in social situations, cheerful and people-oriented. Your job involves a lot of public contact. You deal well with people and are generally the joke teller in the center of the crowd. Your dog should be...

CONSISTENT (Chihuahua, dachshund, pug) or clever (Belgian sheepdog, German shepherd, poodle)  

If you're this sort of person...INTROVERTED


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