Why Are Dog Owners So Happy?
Okay, Dog-lovers! You know this has happened to you:
Early morning, keys in hand, you're ready to leave for work and you spot your dog's droopy eyes silently begging you not to go. All you want to do is stay home with your canine friend...
But you're relatively sure that your boss won't accept "I'm sorry, my dog doesn't want me to come to work today" as a valid reason to call off work.
Non-dog owners would argue that dogs are messy, expensive, and a lot of work. And they would be right on all counts.
But in my opinion, and everyone in my family would agree, the benefits we gain by having a dog (or dogs) in our lives far outweigh any negatives.
Right now, I have three dogs. And I'm not talking about small lap-dogs.
No, I have three, barrel-chested, jowl flapping, slobber-makers covered in long, shaggy hair. They average approximately 150 lbs. each-- yes I did say each. It's like having three small horses as roommates.
Koda, a Bernese mountain dog. Sophie, my Newfoundland. And 'baby' Chewie, a Saint Bernese (Bernese mountain dog/Saint Bernard mix.)
It's comical, really. In my tiny, semi-detached house, with four adult humans and three giant dogs, there's not much room to walk when all three canines are stretched out on the floor.
Cooking is like a dance because, if I'm in the kitchen, they're in the kitchen. And I wouldn't want it any other way.
Step to the left, lift your leg, twist and...spin!
The amount of hair they shed each year could knit blankets for everyone in the state of Pennsylvania! Sometimes, hairballs the size of baseballs can be spotted in the corners of my living room.
And yes. Large-breed dogs like to eat. A lot.
Benefits of Being a Dog Owner
But it's all worth it!
It doesn't matter if I've been gone for five minutes or five hours. The ecstatic greeting is always the same. Happy feet, tails wagging, a leaning 'hug'...pure joy.
No matter what kind of day I've had, the sight of those three never fails to put a smile on my face.
I don't need a therapist, a pill, or even alcohol. I've got something better.
Unconditional love. Times three.
I'll happily get up at 5 am on the weekends, brush their undercoat out, bathe them, fill their water dish a hundred times each day, and wipe the slobber off the walls.
Because they give back so much to me.
Koda sits next to me every morning as I drink my morning coffee, and lays up against me on the weekends while I'm writing. Just knowing he's there inspires me.
Sophie lets you know she loves you by placing her paw on you. She's much more reserved than the boys, but that only makes you appreciate her small gestures of affection even more.
And Chewie gives the best hugs! Each night, he sits next to me on the couch and lays his head on top of mine. What a feeling, being so loved by such a gentle soul.
Dogs...Good For Your Health?
And the benefits don't stop at mental health.
Recent research shows that dogs can actually be good for your physical health.
"Ongoing research is showing that the health benefits of owning a dog are undeniable. Dog owners have lower blood pressure and healthier cholesterol levels, and a lower risk of heart disease, than non-owners." - Get Healthy, Get a Dog; Harvard Health Publishing
Dogs can also be great ice-breakers on the social front. Anytime I walk my dogs, I end up in a conversation, usually with someone I've never met before. And fellow dog-owners seem like long-lost friends as you happily share dog stories. (I like to call it Dog-Nation!)
And let's not forget the added benefit of taking walks. Exercise that's good for both you and your dog.
Proud Dog Owner
My dogs are a part of my family. It's as simple as that.
They give something back to each member of my family. We all love them as much as they love us.
In the words of one of my favorite authors, “Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished.”—Dean Koontz (author, Whispers)
I am, and will always be, a dog-lover. Life without dogs seems unimaginable and empty.
So, please don't judge me by the nose-prints on my front window, or the claw marks on my door.
Judge me by the amount of love inside.
“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” —Josh Billings