The Dog

Is the dog really man’s best friend? We think they are loyal, trustworthy, selfless, courageous and noble, but we’re wrong. Dogs are con-artists, the ultimate social parasite. We throw billions of dollars at our pampered pets and don’t seem to realise just how weird the relationship between human and dog really is. When it comes to dogs, almost nothing is as it seems.

Produced by NHNZ

Is the dog really man’s best friend? We think that dogs are loyal, trustworthy, selfless, courageous, noble and obedient. But we’re wrong. Dogs are con artists. They enter our homes, eat our food, chew our furniture, and go to the toilet on the rug. If our human roommates did this we’d call a lawyer. Dogs are the ultimate social parasite. We throw billions of dollars at our pampered pets, and like the long suffering songbird parents of the cuckoo chick, we just don’t seem to realise how weird the relationship between human and dog really is.

Dogs can weigh from 2 to 200 pounds, and be anywhere from 4 to 40 inches tall. This is the most varied species in the world and yet they all share one thing in common: dogs are the only thing on earth that love us more than we love ourselves. It’s hard to believe that all dogs are descended from the wolf. Once packs of wolves and humans would have been enemies, fighting for the same food. Despite our best efforts to breed out the wildness, we have let a wolf into our living room.

To some people the dog is still an enemy. It’s a cur, a mongrel, and the target for a kick or thrown rock. In Muslim tradition, the dog’s saliva is noxious and contact between humans and dogs requires ritual cleansing. In parts of China the dog is a nutritious supplement to the diet or little more than a burglar alarm with four legs.

So why on earth do we bother raising these canine cuckoos? Since the days of Ancient Greece and Egypt, and on through the Christian tradition of St Dominic and his Dominican “Hounds of the Lord”, dogs have been associated with healing. And the tradition continues today with “pet therapy” aiding the elderly and infirm. When it comes to dogs, almost nothing is as it seems.

Episodes From This Series

The Cow

30 mins / 2001

The Bee

30 mins / 2001

The Shark

30 mins / 2001

The Whale

30 mins / 2001

The Parrot

30 mins / 2001

The Fish

30 mins / 2001

The Butterfly

30 mins / 2001

The Ram

30 mins / 2001

The Dog

30 mins / 2001

The Cat

30 mins / 2001

The Worm

30 mins / 2001

Who was the Real Lord of the Flies

2 Minutes / 2007

The Goldfish and the Emperor

2 Minutes / 2007

How a Moth Saved the Queen of England

2 Minutes / 2007

Dracula Was A Little Batty

3 Minutes / 2007

Are Butterflies the Messengers of the Gods

2 Minutes / 2007