Our Halleck Vineyard Dog Club has taken a monumental jump this month. It has grown by 250%.
I don’t mean this to sound hyperbolic. It is easy to grow by triple digits when the content is in the single digits. In real terms, we have displayed two dogs for many months. These include our vineyard Basenji, Franki, and his good friend from Aspen, Bella. Now we have 7 dogs gracing our Halleck Vineyard. Buddah, Lulu, Elwood, Gabby and Murphy have joined ranks.
So why do we have a Halleck Vineyard Dog Club? The answer speaks to the heart of our mission: to build community. We love our dogs! Some love dogs more than children. And this is not unusual.
I watched a 60 Minutes episode this past week entitled: “The smartest dog in the world”. It documents the amazing work of John Pilley and his Australian Shepherd, Chaser.
Human beings have lived with dogs for thousands of years. You'd think that after all that time we'd have discovered all there is to know about them. But it turns out that until recently scientists didn't pay much attention to dogs. Dolphins have been studied for decades, apes and chimps as well, but dogs, with whom we share our lives, were never thought to be worthy of serious study. As a result, we know very little about what actually goes on inside dogs' brains. Do they really love us, or are dogs just licking us so they can get fed? How much of our language can they understand?
Eighty-six-year-old retired psychology professor John Pilley and his border collie Chaser are inseparable.
During the 9 years of Chaser’s life, John has taught Chaser thousands of words. That’s right, thousands. And Chaser knows the difference between nouns and verbs. This is something that has not been replicated amongst any in the species of animals. We had thought that chimps were the closest to our level of intelligence, but they don’t hold a candle to what a dog can learn.
Further, it has recently been proven that dogs REALLY love us. We know that when dogs and humans make eye contact, actually released is what's known as the love hormone, oxytocin, in both the dog and the human.
It turns out oxytocin, the same hormone that helps new mothers bond with their babies, is released in both dogs and humans when they play, touch or look into one another's eyes. So dogs are hugging us with their eyes.
So our Halleck Vineyard Dog Club is an extension of our family. It represents the dogs we love and who love us back. They are an integral and intimate part of our lives and community. They are there when we need them, comforting and supporting us with unconditional love. Who can say that about our kids or spouses ;-))