The Tata Group recently re-opened Bombay House, its global headquarters in Mumbai, after the 94-year-old building had undergone some major renovations. The most remarkable change to Bombay House is that, according to a press release, “a kennel has been created for the canine friends who have been an integral part of the building for decades.”
Through a Facebook post, Save Our Strays, a Mumbai-based NGO, shared a photo of six dogs enjoying the kennel, along with this message: “This is the area where the street dogs living around the area can have a meal, drink water, take shelter from the sun or rain or just chill out.”
It may seem strange to some people that Tata Group is allowing dogs to chill out in their building, but as a dog owner, I totally understand it. There are many benefits to having dogs around. Here are just a few:
- Exercise: If you own a dog, you will probably have to take the dog on walks – or even runs. This gives both you and your dog some much-needed exercise. Even if you don’t own any dogs, they may still inspire you to exercise. Indeed, other people’s dogs have inspired me to run many times, whether they’re just barking at me or chasing me.
- Love: Dogs give you unconditional love. They’re considered “man’s best friend,” as I often have to remind our female dog, Legacy, who instead considers herself “woman’s best friend.” She loves my wife, Malathi, partly because Malathi gives her far more attention than I do. Every evening, Legacy looks out the window, hoping to spot Malathi returning from work. When Malathi finally opens the door, Legacy wags her tail so vigorously that if I were an engineer I’d win the Nobel Prize by attaching an electric generator to it.
- Companionship: If you have a dog at home, you are never alone. It’s easy to take this for granted when you live with family or friends, but for people living by themselves, especially the elderly, dogs can bring great comfort. Most dog owners enjoy talking to their dogs and appreciate the fact that dogs, unlike children and other family members, never talk back. (They might respond in woofs and yaps, but thankfully Google Translate isn’t that advanced.) Dogs are surprisingly good listeners. In fact, Legacy is a better listener than my teenaged daughters. I can talk to Legacy for 10 minutes straight and not once during our conversation will she feel the need to look at a cellphone.
- Therapy: If you happen to spot someone having a long conversation with a dog, please don’t think they’re crazy. Speaking to dogs and being with them is a form of therapy for many people. Dogs are ideal therapists because not only will they listen to you attentively, it never occurs to them to send you a bill.
- Immunity: Studies show that children who are exposed to dogs early in life have stronger immune systems and are less likely to suffer from allergies and asthma. But the most important form of immunity that children get by having a four-legged friend around is when they go to school and are able to say, “Sorry, Miss Martin. The dog ate my homework.”
- Security: Whether you’re at home or walking through a dark alley somewhere, having a dog with you can make you feel more secure. Many people own dogs because they bark at strangers and, in some cases, will even bite people who enter a home. Legacy is quite friendly, but when a stranger approaches our door, she often barks, mostly to let them know that there’s a dog around and if they come any further, they risk having their backsides sniffed.
- Attractiveness: It may seem surprising to you, but studies show that having a dog makes you seem more attractive to other people. Indeed, if you are a single man hoping to meet single women, just borrow someone’s dog and walk around with it. An attractive woman will stop to pet the dog and it could be the start of a great relationship. Who knows, they may even include you in it.