Woof! 2018 in the Chinese Calendar marks the year of the dog. This furry friend is one of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac. In fact, it is the 11th animal and there’s an interesting story behind this!
There was once a race set by the Jade Emperor to decide which animals would make it into the zodiac. The animals had to cross a river, and the order in which the first 12 arrived would determine their position.
The dog originally had a head start (as it was an adept swimmer!), but ended up splashing playfully in the waters (enjoying the warmth of it – losing all track of the race!). By the time it reached the shore, it was in 11th place (silly dog!).
Wàng wàng, 旺旺 (or woof woof) means prosperous. The phrase 旺财, wàng cái (prosperous wealth) is derived from it. Naming a dog “wàng cái” is popular as owners calling after it – seemingly call ‘good fortune’ on themselves.
This lucky pet apparently brings luck our way too! It seems like we have struck gold in welcoming this pet into our house.
People with dogs have a lower probability of suffering from heart attacks in contrast to those non-dog owners. Playing with one’s pets elevates the levels of serotonin and dopamine in our bodies, which calms and relaxes us. Not only that, pet owners’ triglyceride and cholesterol levels – indicators of heart disease- are much lower as compared to those without pets.
If that’s not enough, research has proven that dogs can help with Alzheimer’s patients’ behavioural symptoms. Most patients generally have an inability to deal with stress. Researchers at the University of California at Davis concluded that dogs’ playful interactions, gentleness and positive source of nonverbal communication can decrease aggressive behaviour in Alzheimer’s patients.
Some people attribute this to the dogs’ acute sense of smell, while others think it may be due to intuition (when dogs become attuned to human behaviour and are able to sense behavioural changes before they take place).
Several studies have shown the positive effects of dogs on children since their infancy – one of which includes greater immunity from allergies and asthma.
Susan Lynch did a study on this reduced allergy risk. She used two groups of mice that were exposed to cockroach or protein allergens. Her results showed that the group which was less reactive to the allergens – was the group that was exposed to dust from homes with dogs.
Somehow, the early exposure to pets had an effect on the asthma-associated inflammatory responses in the lungs. Further, a bacteria called Lactobacillus Johnsonii was found to be especially useful in preventing airway inflammation (due to allergens) when fed to the mice.
Aren’t dogs amazing? There are so many things to learn about them! As we enter into the year of this incredible creature, we here at Science Centre Singapore wish all our readers a healthy and PAWSperous 2018!
Wishing you a happy year of the dog!
Enjoy Science Centre Singapore’s CNY couplet!
忠狗诚守望高台 , 业务蒸蒸随地起
灵犬敏锐嗅良机 , 迎新旺旺破天荒
The loyal dog faithfully keeps watch to ensure businesses steadily rise and flourish,
The intelligent dog keenly seeks out good opportunities in the new year to usher in breakthroughs.
- *FREE admission to Circus exhibition in Feb!
For those born in the year of the dog, enjoy complimentary entry to Circus! Science Under the Big Top and Snow City for the whole month of February!
- Attractive Combo Ticket Price!
Get ready for a PAWsome time and enjoy great savings with any purchase of a combo ticket (includes entry to SCS + Circus! Science Under the Big Top + Butterflies Up Close/Snow City/Omni-Theatre). More info can be found here.
By Estelle and Janellia
Reviewed by Danny