As early as seven years old, she realized a dog can bring warmth and comfort when she is feeling sad or depressed.
“They know how to empathize when you are sad. They are always there for you, and make you feel better. They also always agree to everything you say,” says Jhoana Hicap, a guidance counselor and personality development expert at the Philippine Chenkuang high school in San Juan city.
Jhoana is furmom to Sheldon (Labrador), Tally (an aspin or asong Pinoy), Rusty (a dachshund), Toby (a toy poodle), and soon Mojo (a Frenchie).
She agrees that there are humans who prefer to have dogs as companions or babies. “Owning a dog is like raising a child, but the dog is less complex and easier,” she said.
For her, it is difficult to raise children because one has to take care of infants who have irregular sleepng patterns and who wake up in the wee hours of the morning. Puppies, on the other hand, sleep all night after feeding.
Children need to go to school, be disciplined and taught good values to make them good humans who are productive members of society. Dogs, on the other hand, only need obedience training such as potty training, where to eat, and warning owners of danger. Even without classes on values, they are loyal and loving.
Asked if dogs have more empathy, Hicap replies:
“It is a well-known fact that animals have better (sharper) senses than humans which allow them to see or feel things better than we do.”
She stresses that dogs can “sense” a human’s aura. Dogs who are attached to their owners can sense when they are down or depressed.
Dogs are also the best listeners in the world because you can rant all you want about anything and they will just listen to you, while humans have a tendency to disagree, argue and insist they are right. Arguments will make you feel stressed. On the other hand, a dog’s silent presence eventually calms you.
Hicap shares that there were times her dachshund and toy poodle would go over to her with wagging tails and would offer or give her their toys as if telling her that they want to play with her to cheer her up. Almost immediately, she would feel like the world around her has brightened and she would feel good again.
Hicap is aware there are many sacrifices one has to make for having a dog or a cat, and there are hurdles to overcome when owning a pet. But life will always be full of challenges and concerns. To her however, dogs are the best and most loving companions to enjoy this journey called life. They are easy to get along with as they only ask for some food, a good bath, and our love.
About the author: Julian Cardenas, a student from the University of Santo Tomas, is now an intern at the Manila Standard. He writes for the lifestyle section and contributes articles to the social media department and pets section.