Local Dog Becomes Celebrity
Cori was filmed in the Rocket for Horizon film
Acton resident Philip Brodie was filmed in the Rocket with his dog Cori, for a Horizon documentary, screened this week, about our extraordinary relationship with dogs.
The documentary starts by interviewing several dog-owners, including Philip, and provides some fascinating insights into man's best friend. Philip is seen sitting on a chaise longue in the popular local pub while Cori lopes up to him. He says that dogs "Just seem to fit in with your lifestyle," and as any regulars at the Rocket will know, Cori - although huge in size - is as gentle and well-behaved a dog as you could hope to meet.
Towards the end of the documentary, Philip says: "Dogs enrich your life. They are the best thing ever and keep you young," a sentiment which is backed up by evidence that oxytocin levels in people with dogs are much increased. Dog owners are less likely to have heart attacks and more likely to recover from them if they do.
According to the programme, there are eight million dogs living in the UK alone. Our relationship with them is become ever more intricate. We are incredibly attuned to one another in a way that no other species are and as many dog owner will agree, there is a very deep bond between dogs and their owners.
A study is shown of how dogs read our faces which reveals that their eyes move in much the same way as ours do (predominantly looking at the left side of the face). Clips of dogs barking in different situations (play, on guard, worried..) are played to different people who all interpret them easily and agree on what each bark means.
The programme asks the question why do we love an animal which was once a predator, and looks at wolves and foxes, studying how they can become domesticated over generations. There are genetic similarities between dogs and dog-like species and it has been proven that dogs are descended from wolves (although looking at, say, a dachshund it is difficult to see how - breed characteristics must have happened over many generations.)
Evidence has been found to suggest that dogs were domesticated as much as 100,000 years ago. Their involvement in hunting and herding animals could be responsible for major improvements in the way man lived.