By Carla M. Pacis

The majority of the pets we own are either cats or dogs. That is probably because they have formed close relationships with humans unlike fish, birds, turtles or any of the other animals we call pets.Scientists have definitely proven that the dog, with its many different breeds, originated from the wolf. Dogs display behavior that is similar to the wolf’s. When a dog buries a bone, a piece of food or toy, it is copying the food-caching behavior of wolves. When a dog jumps to greet its owner, it is the same behavior wolf pups display when they meet an adult wolf. Both wolves and dogs roll over and show their bellies as a sign of submission.

Both raise their hackles and tail when feeling aggressive. Both sniff the each other’s rear ends when meeting. The present day dog has actually retained the characteristics of the wolf pup.

Scientists trace the beginning of the relationship between man and wolves/dog as far back as 14,000 years ago. The domestication of the wolf began at the time when early men were hunters. Nobody really knows how it all started. Scientists suspect it could have began when wolves would approach a campfire after smelling something good to eat. Maybe those that were unafraid of humans and had tame dispositions would be accepted into the camp. Humans could have also taken wolf pups and tamed them to be hunting companions or guards. The relationship between man and dog has evolved into something deeper over thousands of years. Today, he is man’s faithful and loving companion.

The cat took its place beside humans long after the dogs. It is only when man stopped wandering and settled into a home and began to store his grain that the wild cat’s domestication may have begun. Grain attracts mice and rats, a favorite food of wild cats even then. Cats became man’s helper against the grain-eating rodents. Cats also found out that in the human places, hunting was easier, and the shelter and warmth that human homes provided were more comfortable than the outdoors. The earliest records of cats are on wall paintings in ancient Egypt. Thus, man found another animal companion.