I can’t remember a time when I did not have a dog in my life. Ever since I was about 4 or 5 my family had at least one dog, sometimes two. I am so happy that my mom and dad allowed us to have a dog and, as a result, instilled in me a love of all things canine. I have no doubt that I was a dog in another life. I just feel deeper connections with dogs more than people. I cannot imagine living a life without a dog.
If you are a dog lover, you can relate. I’m sure cats provide the same affection as dogs but I cannot speak from experience as I have never owned a cat. Whatever animal you choose will improve your life and their life. Here’s a few reasons why.
They bring joy and they love you unconditionally
There is nothing better than seeing the bright eyes of your dog light up when you get home — even if you were only gone 5 minutes. It’s like you are the best thing they see all day. That look can’t come from a person, in my opinion. It can only come from those canine eyes staring at you with admiration and love. As a teacher I had many stressful days at school. When I came home and could hole up with my dogs — it was a blessing! To come home to an empty house would have been devastating, in my opinion. They certainly brightened my mood the moment I stepped out of the car, tails wagging and tongues hanging out.
They provide comfort a person cannot
Sometimes the best medicine is to sit and snuggle with your dog. This was especially helpful when my husband died. I had two dogs at the time — one was fairly old and the other a puppy. I really wasn’t in the mindset to have a puppy after his passing. We had gotten her in December, a couple of months before he died. As a result the puppy — Zolli — did not get the training she needed and I had lifelong issues with her. However, she was a sweet dog and she helped me in my grief tremendously. She kept me company and protected me as a single woman living alone. For a while it was me and Zolli against the world. I might not have gotten through my grief without her.
They’re adorable — eye candy!
Sometimes I just like looking at my dogs. They are so cute. If only I could be so lucky. Sometimes I ask Marble, my dog of 10 years, after she upsets me about something “Why do I keep you around? Oh, yea. Eye candy!” I never stay upset for long because who can stay mad at a dog? Those eyes! That snout! I must see those in person everyday to function properly.
They keep you healthy
Studies have shown that people who have pets are happier. Well, of course. See above, LOL. Research has been done to show that people who own pets have lower blood pressure, fewer heart attacks, and reduce cholesterol. Which leads me to ask, why doesn’t everybody have a dog? With all the problems and negativity in today’s world, I think everyone needs one. If you don’t have your health, you don’t have much. Getting a dog can help you AND will provide a home to an animal who needs it. We did that recently and adopted Luna from the local shelter. What a sweet girl she is! We certainly got lucky that day when we picked her out. She suits us well.
Dogs also help you lose weight because having a dog encourages walking the dog. My boyfriend was not a walker before we got Luna. He would sometimes go with Marble and me but not consistently. Then, out of the blue, he started walking Luna every morning. Consistently. Thank you, Luna, for helping Rich get healthier! He didn’t listen when I tried to tell him. It took a dog to do that.
They create memories to last a lifetime
When I think of childhood memories, I always remember the dogs I had in my life first. One dog was Whooten. She was my dog through most of my childhood and got me through some rough times in high school. She put up with a lot too. For example, as a kid I would make up grade cards for her and would test her on various skills. I think she was an A student. I still have a copy of one of the grade cards — call me a sentimental fool. One memory ingrained in my mind is when she chased a motorcycle and got her tail run over. It ended up getting gangrene and had to be removed. I only really remember her with a short tail, so that must have happened early in her life. We also had a dog named Reuben. I have no idea where he came from. He was a sweet dog too. He and Whooten were best friends.
And then there was Benjamin. He was a little stray my family adopted and we all grew to love him. He died a tragic death when he was killed by a neighbor’s dog.
There’s Natasha who I got when I graduated from high school. Because I ended up going away to college she stayed with my mom and dad, but I took her on occasion and she often stayed long periods of time when my parents went camping in Texas over the winter. One memory I have of her is when she ran away, rolled in something very gross and fishy, and ended up getting a staph infection all over her ears. Let me just say that treating this was one of the most disgusting things I have ever done. She got better quickly, but I never forgot what I had to do to heal her ears. She was worth it though!
During Randy and my entire marriage we had 2 dogs — Scout and Yogi — brother and sister. The four of us were tight. I have so many memories of these two. For example, Scout getting mauled by a javelina in Arizona and Yogi severely salivating everyday right before eating. These dogs were our children and we loved them dearly. Scout had to be put down in November 2003. She lived to be 13. Yogi lived another couple years. The memories our family created during these wonderful 13 years will live in my heart forever.
Yes, these are only a small sampling of dog memories that are etched in my brain and even though some are tragic, it’s always worth it to have a dog. Period. Of course most of my memories are wonderful. Dogs usually fill us with love and laughter.
If you can’t get a dog, try asking a friend, relative, or neighbor if you can walk theirs. Volunteer at an animal shelter if one is open near you. Go to the park and make friends with someone who has a dog. That’s one more thing dogs do — bring people together. Thank you to all the canines who bring joy to all the humans in your lives. We love you dearly! You make the world a better place. And we need you now more than ever!