Now you might find the fact that Leona Helmsley left her fortune to her dog shocking but the act of leaving billions to a dog is less surprising in light of new findings about the importance of the human/dog bond. Relationships between people and their pets can be so strong, in fact, that in some cases they work better than partnerships between two people.A new study led by Lisa Cavanaugh, a researcher at the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University ( North Carolina ) is one of the first to apply methods used to analyze human relationships to human/dog pairs and reveals clues as to what makes the best pooch-to-person match. One surprising find is that a dog’s personality helps shape the relationship more than the person's does. Two dog qualities are usually predicted a successful match. "A canine's openness to new experience and agreeableness are the strongest predictors of relationship satisfaction," explained Cavanaugh. She and her team suspect that "dogs' generally trusting, non-judgmental, empathetic and curious nature enables them to blend into their owners' family and home, and bring comfort and enjoyment into their lives."Another, somewhat surprising, find is that while people tend to dislike neuroticism in other people, they frequently like that quality in their dogs.The researchers also noted that while human relationships often falter over time, thereby contributing less to a person's overall well-being, human/dog bonds frequently strengthen over time.Cavanaugh goes on to suggest that some people might be more satisfied with their dog friendships than with their human ones.
"Dogs provide unconditional love. You could be the worst scoundrel in the world and everyone else may hate you, but a loyal dog will always love you."