Dogs and Humans



Jan Truter, via Flickr

Rena Dam and Liz Waid look at the special relationship between dogs and humans. Why do people love dogs so much?

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Transcript


Voice 1

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Rena Dam.

Voice 2

And I’m Liz Waid. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1

There is a large square stone near a river in Northern Wales. Grass and trees surround it. This gray stone marks where someone is buried. One side of the burial stone is covered with writing. It tells this story:

Voice 3

“In the 13th century the son of the king of North Wales had his home here. His name was Prince Llewelyn. One day Prince Llewelyn went out hunting. He went without his faithful dog, Gelert. When Llewlyn came home, Gelert joyfully ran and jumped to meet him. But the dog was covered with blood. The Prince was frightened. Quickly, he ran to find his son. He found the baby’s bed empty. The blankets and floor were covered with blood. Llewelyn felt insane with anger. He thought his dog had killed his baby. He quickly killed Gelert with his sword. The dog’s dying cry was followed by a baby’s voice. The Prince searched and discovered his son. The boy was not hurt. But next to the baby lay the dog-like body of a large wolf. Gelert the dog had killed this wild and fierce animal. The Prince was full of regret. People say he never smiled again. The prince buried Gelert here.”

Voice 2

The dog Gelert and the wolf may have looked very similar. But they did not treat the people around them in the same way. Today’s Spotlight is on dogs and their relationship with humans.

Voice 1

So what made Gelert and the wolf so different? Many years ago, dogs and wolves were the same. But about 14,000 years ago, some wolves began to change. They were no longer as wild. No one knows exactly how this happened. Angus Phillips of National Geographic Magazine thinks it may have happened like this:

Voice 4

“Some wolves moved close to human cooking fires after smelling something good to eat. Then they worked to get closer to groups of humans. They did this by being helpful or proving they would not hurt people. The humans might have used the wolves’ better hunting skills to help them hunt animals. The wolves could warn humans of danger at night.”

Voice 2

Humans and wolves both lived in groups. The groups usually had a leader. The smaller, weaker wolves knew how to obey the wolf leader. So it was easy for them to learn to obey a human leader. Both humans and these smaller wolves got something good from this relationship. Angus Phillips explains the result:

Voice 4

“Over thousands of years, humans kept the large, rough wolves out of the human camps. This led to the development of different kinds of dogs that were more friendly to people. They began to look different than wolves. They were generally smaller than wolves, with a shorter nose.”

Voice 1

Today, there are about 400 different kinds of dogs. People can see many of these kinds of dogs at dog shows. At these shows, people bring their dogs to compete for a prize. The dogs run, walk and do tricks for judges. Some of the dogs are as tall as the waist of a person. Others are small enough to be carried in one hand. Some dogs have long hair that reaches to the ground. Others have no hair at all.

Voice 2

Dogs can be very different in size, shape and colour. Peter Tyson works for the science magazine NOVA. He explains why there are so many kinds of dogs:

Voice 5

“There are so many kinds of dogs mainly because of human and not natural selection. Through the late 19th century, humans would mate dogs for special skills they wanted.”

Voice 1

Humans mated or bred dogs such as the greyhound for hunting. This dog is thin and very fast. It can run for a long time without getting tired.

Voice 2

Humans have also bred dogs to work with the police. In Thailand, police use the dog’s good sense of smell to look for land mines. Other dogs work on farms. They help farmers who have many sheep or cows. These herding dogs help move and protect the animals.

Voice 1

Dogs are trained to work with humans in many ways. But humans also breed dogs for something other than work. Peter Tyson of NOVA explains:

Voice 5

“It was not until the late 1800s that breeding for looks more than for behaviour began. Breeders wanting to design the perfect breed are the reason why today we have so many different looking dogs.”

Voice 2

Humans have spent a lot of time and effort breeding different kinds of dogs. But most dogs are not show dogs. Most dogs do not even work. Today, the most common use of a dog is for friendship. Some people even consider their dog to be a part of their family. Scientists are finding that dogs can even understand human emotions. 

Voice 1

Around the world today there are more than 400 million dogs. But their relationship with people is not always close. Some of these dogs do not have a home. They are strays. They live on the streets and often eat garbage. Diana Bharucha is from Bangalore, India. She started a program called ‘Stray Dogs Free Bangalore.’ She says that dogs should have a home with a human master. If not, she thinks that the dogs should be killed in a way that does not cause them pain. Diana told the newsmagazine ‘Citizens Matters’:

Voice 6

“If the dog population continues to increase, they will go back to living in a group and turn wild. They will start hunting like wild animals. This will be a danger for human life.” 

Voice 2

Rajesh Shukla also lives in Bangalore. He does not want to kill the stray dogs. He offers a different solution:

Voice 7

“If the city begins a waste management system that works well, the food for stray dogs will be limited. This will limit the number of stray dogs in the area.”

Voice 1

Humans are still learning how to live together with dogs. This relationship can be wonderful but difficult - like in the story of Prince Llewelyn and his dog Gelert. But people will continue to share their lives with man’s best friend: the dog.

Voice 2

The writer and producer of this program was Rena Dam. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘Dogs and Humans’.

Voice 1

You can also leave your comments on our website. Or you can email us at radio@ radioenglish. net. You can also find us on Facebook - just search for SpotlightRadio. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

Do you like dogs?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
Skender
said on October 12, 2011

Thank you for this interesting story. Mainly I enjoyed the story about the princ of Wales and his dog. I never heard it before. It is a meaningful story. That story which took place in 1300 or seven centuries ago, is an amazing story. I’ll remember it forever. That story tell us about dog’s loyalty. As always I am happy to hear these programs voiced by Liz Waid. I like her and I like American accent and American English in general.
The best wishes
Skender

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vukhucthienthanh
said on October 14, 2011

Dogs are very lovely and friendly, puppy! puppy! so cute :”>

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georgino
said on November 14, 2012

Stray dogs are very danger on the streets, but some dogs are good to care home or as company the pets are nice. My dog is called dodgy It’s good to hunt.

Thank you friend

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maluisa
said on November 14, 2012

I think so, the stray dogs can not be alone on the street , because they are a danger for human. they acroos the street and can cause accident , also they can get diseases on the skin, rabies and make a lot of waste on the sidewalk.. Must have a cpntrol system for that..
I have a dog and care a lot it.
That is all. Thanks

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rosyantigone
said on November 15, 2012

oh, that’s woderfull!
i had huge emetion when i read ” He quickly killed Gelert with his sword. The dog’s dying cry was followed by a baby’s voice”.
my family also have a pack of dogs, my family seem they is a part of us. they are very nice, friendly and so cool

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hoaaof
said on May 28, 2013

i love dogs. them are too intelligent and loyal but in my country, dogs always are killed by people, become a dish.  i hope that there is a new law for dogs in my country like many countries in the world

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jmaia
said on June 29, 2015

I like dogs very much, but sometimes they are dangerous. I already had four dogs and one time one of them jumped the fence of my house and attacked one person that walked in the street. Thereafter, I kept the dog arrested with a chain. Some dogs are dangerous because they attack children inside house,
and the owner himself.

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Juliana Bendeck
said on July 02, 2015

This was a very nice and interesting story. So i realy Like The dogs.

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Dela
said on July 28, 2015

Dogs are amazing, clever animals with high intelligence but they need urgently good, right breeding and leading their owner or else they even can become dangerous for humans. Dogs should never run freely in the streets in any case. People have been living together with dogs for many years and this coexistence will probably continue also in future because dogs’ loyalty and attachment are irreplaceable!

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Amanda30110@hotmail.com
said on July 24, 2018

Yes. I love dogs, I had a dog called Macario, he stayed with me 15 years, after that he died, part of my heart died with him.

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Dela
said on August 05, 2018

The different breeds of dogs help humans in various ways. The dogs are endowed with the wide abilities because of the exceptional sensitive perception such as excellent hearing and in particular abnormally developed good scent. As a result of that the dogs can for example help police seek for drugs and discover illegal activities, they can follow a long, old track and help capture an eventual wanted criminal finally.
Moreover, dogs appear as useful extremely to guide , guard the blind or disabled people. Another dogs’ ability is searching for persons caved under remainders, in the burning houses just as the buildings destroyed by huricane, earthquake or even bomb attack!
Nowadays, many people live often together with dogs keeping them as beloved, devoted pets. We should realize our dogs are prepared to sacrifice their life for us if it will be necessary!