The Purest Bond: Understanding the Human-Canine Connection

Atria. Nov. 2023. 256p. ISBN 9781668007846. $28. PETS
This upbeat, conversational title from “internet dog mom” Golbeck (information studies, Univ. of Maryland) and psychology and health writer Colino is positive, encouraging, and enthusiastic. Research substantiates the perks of canine companionship for humans, ranging from the physical (lowered blood pressure, increased lung capacity and muscle strength from walks) to the emotional (reduced stress and increased mental acuity). Social benefits include connection to other dog owners, which can alleviate loneliness. Although sometimes it reads like a lengthy podcast or essay, the book validates the deep, almost spiritual connection many owners enjoy with their beloved pet—a bond unlike those of marriage, parenting, or collegiality—unrequited love at its finest. The authors include a helpful survey to assess benefits and drawbacks of prolonging life for elderly or ill animals, as well as extensive notes from publications on related topics. It would have been helpful to have more discussion on tactics to increase the connection when a dog and its owner have a rough start or are unable to bond as desired, but that’s a very slight criticism of a wonderful book.
VERDICT An excellent addition to the field of canine cognition and emotional connection that is inclusive and easily digested.
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