Adopting Dogs In Need In Hong Kong Is Win-Win For Owners And Pets

Adopting Dogs in Need in Hong Kong is Win-Win for Owners and Pets
(Photo: Facebook/Hong Kong Dog Rescue (HKDR))

The 2009 Hollywood drama movie called "Hachi: A Dog's Tale," which stars Richard Gere, has touched the hearts of every dog lover across the world. It is the kind of film that epitomizes the bond between humans and dogs.

Heart-warming tales of loyal dogs abound all over the world, illustrating the creatures' love and selfless service of humankind. They embody unwavering devotion.

Dogs have lived alongside humans since the dawn of time, and scientists believe a person's bond with them goes as far back as 15,000 years. According to South China Morning Post, the love and friendship between man and dog are mutual; apparently, when people make eye contact with a dog, it produces oxytocin - colloquially known as the "love hormone." This process also takes place between mothers and newborns as they bond.

The benefits of social interaction between humans and dogs are indisputable. In short, they make people healthier and happier. In Hong Kong, however, it is sadly common for people to buy dogs as gifts, rather than adopt those that are in dire need of a loving home.

According to Dr. Paul Wong Wai-ching, an associate professor in the department of social work and social administration at the University of Hong Kong, not many people realize the impact of a meaningful human-dog bond. Nor do they appreciate that dogs play a major part in boosting social capital. This means significantly improved well-being for people, especially children, and the community at large.

Owning a dog motivates people to interact more with others in their community. This also means that owners have to walk their pet daily.

This all-important ritual guarantees that a person will go out regularly, and thereby increases one's chances of meeting other residents in their neighborhood. As a result of the greater social interaction, one naturally builds a social network and fortifies existing ones, sNEWSi reports.

Social capital is highly essential to the long-term sustainable development of society, Wong noted, and that is why we have organizations such as a neighborhood watch to promote and ensure cohesion and harmony in our immediate community. Hong Kong is unique in that a cramped living environment is not conducive to this type of social interaction.

Imagine living in spatially challenged Causeway Bay or Wan Chai. Walking a dog is comparable to running a gauntlet. First, the streets are too narrow and congested. Aside from heavy human traffic, another frequent obstacle is pedestrians who dislike dogs or those who do not feel comfortable being too close to the four-legged animals.

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