Football manager brings dog to training ground and players love it. Discuss.

Arteta and 'Win'
Arteta and ‘Win’. Image: The Mirror newspaper.
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The recent British football news is that the manager of Arsenal Football Club, Mikel Arteta, is bringing an employee’s chocolate Labrador to the training ground to improve the mood and lower the stress levels. He realised that the appropriately named dog (Win) would help them win. As it happens the team is ‘bottling it’ at the tail end of the season which has cost them the Premiership title but the idea was good. He also planted a tree to show his players that you have to nurture the roots to flourish.

Arteta hits it in the head in the video about the need to connect.


All the world and their dog know that companion animals and indeed animals in general are good for us. They give us something that other humans cannot. What is it? Why do our cats make us smile and our dogs make us feel better?

Harville Hendrix, an American author, said: “We are born in relationships, wounded in relationships, and heal in relationships.” Relationships are fundamental to our lives.

Animals reach those parts humans can’t

For a peculiar reason which exposes one of the many human flaws, we often struggle with human relationships. There is too much going on. Perhaps we are too cerebral sometimes or at the other end of the spectrum; react too instinctively. Trust often breaks down and without trust there is no relationship. Divorce is on the rise and more couples than ever (in the West) are not married. Marriage is a dying institution. And in the West people are having less kids. They don’t want to bring them into the world. Can you blame them?

The current Pope has criticised couples for having pets because he sees it as an alternative to having kids and that’s bad as far as he is concerned. It’s good for the couples though. The problem is that countries need kids to generate wealth. To hit perpetual economic growth. The Holy Grail of all economists even it if destroys the planet and the wildlife and ultimately ourselves.

Dogs, cats and other animals plug the gap that humans leave in their failure to create stable and long-term loving relationships. Pets are not as complex as humans. We love that. We love their unconditional love. An aspect of companion animal behavior to treasure.

That magic reliability

We sometimes (often?) want more than human relationships can provide. We want connection and a stable and loving presence. We get that from our animal friends as they provide a non-complex, simple love and above all their reliability.

They are always there for us. We can rely on them. Their reliability is so good that it is often abused as some people take advantage of the subservience of dogs. Cats less so but they are as reliable and as constant as dogs.

We can offload our troubles and stresses onto our companion animals. Their response is their quiet presence. They don’t try and solve our problems but provide empathy which is what we are seeking. These are mental health benefits.

Physical benefits too

There are many well-known physical benefits such as decreased blood pressure, cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels. The dog provides increased opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities. Walking in a beautiful landscape is a healing process. And you’re almost bound to meet another dog owner and get chatting. Socialising is beneficial as we are social creatures.

Workplace

Arteta was right. He’s a smart football manager. There is a trend for allowing employees to bring dogs to work as it improves the ambience and productivity it is said.

Zoonotic

There is one caveat, some disease are zoonotic and can be transmitted from pet to person. We need to be aware of that. People with compromised immune systems might think twice if they are considering adopting a pet although it will be a balanced decision. There are pros and cons.

Bewildered

All the above said it is bewildering to me why so many humans abuse animals. An entirely incorrect relationship born out of ignorance and a bad culture where they live. We have a long way to before we can declare ourselves civilised.

Owners of cats and dogs poisoned to death by commercially prepared foods should receive an automatic $10,000 payment in compensation

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