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  • Writer's pictureRusty Pencil

Why do we send cards from the dog?

Updated: Jan 20

There are a million things a dog can’t do. It can’t jump into your car and take the kids to school. It has no idea how to mow the lawn, do the ironing, zip up the duvet cover or use an Excel spreadsheet for accounting purposes. The list goes on. It seems that a dog can’t do anything of real use. But there’s one thing it can do with abundance and with sheer enthusiasm, and that is to give love. And it’s all down to a hormone called oxytocin.

Oxytocin - the cuddle hormone.

Humans and dogs have a jolly nice hormone called oxytocin, and it surges through our veins whenever our eyes meet. This reaction is the same when a parent and their baby see each other. It makes you go all cuddly and spout childish gibberish. It’s all done in the name of love, though we’re not sure if your dog is thinking the same.

Every time you smile and stroke your furry friend it develops an increasingly stronger bond, and one that makes you and your dog go all gooey every time you meet. All this soppiness reduces your blood pressure and is partly the reason why having a pet dog is good for your health.

This, together with going on long walks, lobbing sticks aimlessly in all directions and picking up warm poo, creates a special bond like no other. Then again, picking up the warm poo of someone you know is bound to be based on a special bond like no other.

The joy of a dog is that it doesn’t judge, gives unconditional love, is loyal, happy eating the same food every day, fluffy, soft to cuddle, and barks at people you don’t like. I’m none of these, though I do bark at people I don’t like.

If you can forgive the bad breath and the occasional silent deadly fart, there’s no reason not to love a dog. It’s no surprise, then, we regard our pet dog as a cherished member of the family and encourage it to participate in everything we do, including writing greeting cards.

Cards from the dog. The card business loves it.

Cards from pets are big business. Many publishers have a range of pet cards, and with over 25 million cats and dogs in the UK, there’s serious money to be made. During the COVID lockdown, dog ownership leapt from 9 million to 12.5 million, with dog ownership in 2021/22 at 13 million dogs. That's the second-highest in Europe only preceded by Germany.

This has helped the segment to grow even more and only further reinforces our anthropomorphic tendencies, such as staring into the dog’s eyes and having an in-depth discussion about who should have really won The Great British Bake Off. Stuck at home during lockdown watching box sets with a dog does odd things to a human.

Being a member of the family we expect our dogs to behave as we do. We can’t help it. This anthropomorphic nonsense stretches to us giving our nearest and dearest greeting cards signed by the dog. This doesn’t make sense, as no dog - try as it might - is able to execute cursive writing. But this doesn’t stop us from posting a card on its behalf.

Of course, all we’re doing is relaying our unsaid feelings via an innocent canine. I have a divorce card from the dog that sells well. If you can’t say it, let the dog say it. It’s a neat way to tell people what’s really on your mind, good or bad. By sending it from the dog it further emphasises our message without any embarrassment or serious after-effects. And maybe that’s what sending a card from the dog is all about.

On that note, here are some fun dog facts:

A dog’s sense of smell is forty times more sensitive than a human’s

A dog can sniff and breathe at the same time

A dog can only sweat through its paws. This is why it pants when it’s hot

A dog can hear four times further than a human

Dogs are colour-blind. They are dichromatic which means they only see two colours: blue and yellow. The rest of their world is grey

There’s a dog whistle in The Beatles song A Day in the Life. It’s inaudible to humans


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