"The one absolutely unselfish friend that humans can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts them, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is their dog."
George Graham Vest, Senator of Missouri, 1855
I have often stated the truth that 'people are relational creatures and not only is man not an island, man cannot exist fully in isolation'. We were created to be relational by a relational creator who seeks relationship with us so it is no surprise that all people seek out connections with other people. Where these connections fail to develop into tangible relationships we tend to turn to pets to find this connection we so desperately seek.
I must admit I have never understood the concept of a dog being man's best friend. Vest suggests that dog's are considered to be such because as human's we are so incredibly suspicious and devoid of trust for one another that we turn to animals to make that close bond / connection that we crave, dogs in this case but any pet of choice can be slotted in here.
Whilst there is an element of truth in the point that it is difficult to find trustworthy people in our increasingly selfish and introverted world, this is not an impossible feat. The difficulty lies in man's innate selfish disposition that gives rise to untrustworthy behaviour and distrust where one approaches relationships from a purely self-seeking perspective. In an environment where one esteems others above self, one can create and foster genuine connections with other people and the effort in seeking these connections out is often what many choose not to employ, deciding on focusing their efforts on a bond with an animal who wont talk back, tell them the truth, make demands on their time and money (beyond what is necessary for its health and life) or disagree with them. Not to mention those who turn on the owners children out of jealousy and attack them or those that do run away.
No I find it difficult to subscribe to the concept of a relationship with an animal (a dog in this case) being a better connection that that with another human. I would go do far as to say that a dog (or cat etc) is not any man's best friend but a selfish man's escape from genuine human relationship and connection with other people, because said man does not want to compromise, to partner with or be exposed and vulnerable with another person where accountability and faithfulness will be expected...a truly sad state of affairs indeed...