Sometimes I hear people pull out that dreaded phrase, “It’s just a dog.” Now, I know that dogs don’t appeal to all people. There are some people that don’t want or need a dog in their life and, while I might think that’s a little (okay, a lot) crazy, it’s totally fine. To each their own.
But that phrase still makes me cringe, because dogs bring so much joy and happiness. I was happy before I got a dog, but bringing Little One into my home has brought extra joy into my life. Whenever I hear or think about that phrase, all the ways that dogs can enrich a person’s life immediately come to mind. I thought I’d share just a few of those reasons today.
1. They don’t hide their happiness. The other day I was talking about how excited Little One gets sometimes when I take her outside. When Little One is excited her little butt wiggles and there are times when it’s wiggling so much that she can barely sit down. She starts to sit, stands, starts to sit again, stands… and this goes on until finally her butt hits the ground and she looks up at me. Sometimes it doesn’t take long for her to sit, but then she’ll stand right away and circle, before she sits again. If you’re giving her attention, or she’s staring out the window, or she thinks she might get food, or she anticipates a tummy rub her tail is always wagging. When she’s excited or happy, it’s 100% obvious, and what makes it even better is that she’s happy pretty much all of the time. When I take a look at her and see her happiness and excitement in her movement, it puts a smile on my face. I can come home from one of the most frustrating days at work and that little wiggle in her body as she runs to me always makes me grin.
2. They provide comfort. I follow plenty of Cavalier’s on Instagram (nerd alert!) and when their humans talk about the importance of the dogs in their lives, they always discuss how their dogs are by their side in times of need. I’ve seen that in Little One, too. If I’m sad, she curls up by my side. If I’m sick, she’s usually calm and lets me get the rest that I need. If I sneeze, she looks up to make sure that I’m okay. And when I had Jinni for a few months, she always knew exactly what I needed. One month while she was here I was really stressed out about work and I didn’t really have the opportunity to talk out my feelings with other people. Jinni was there, listening to the sound of my voice as I poured my heart out to her and allowing me to hug her. Shortly before her humans
stole her took her back, I was sitting on the floor by her while she sat in her favorite chair (now Little One’s favorite chair) and a tear slipped down my cheek. I turned my head away from her, but Jinni placed a paw on my cheek, turned my head to face her again and licked the tear away. Now, the cynical person might say that she wanted the salty tear, and that may be part of it, but dogs are in tune with human emotions. They know when you’re mad, they know when you’re frustrated… and they also know when you’re sad. And when you’re sad, they’ll be right by your side.
3. They relieve stress. Dogs (and other animals) are known to relieve stress. I know that sitting next to Little One and taking time to pet her is a calming thing for me. I think it’s a well-documented fact on this blog and on my Instagram that she loves getting tummy rubs. Sometimes I find her snoozing in prime tummy rub position and if I look at her, she’ll start to roll over. I won’t claim to enjoy giving her tummy rubs as much as she enjoys receiving them, but I really do enjoy giving her tummy rubs. It’s relaxing to take the time to do so and calms my mind if I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed with something that’s happening. Also, I’ve read a few articles about studies that have shown that dogs relieve stress. You’d think that out of all of the random articles that I bookmarked (like it might take dogs awhile to find the perfect place to poop because they’re actually lining themselves up with the magnetic field) that I’d have at least one of these dogs and stress relief articles, but nope! So, instead I’ll share this link.
4. They can encourage you to slow down. I’m a really fast-paced person. I once had coworkers who laughed at me because I was interested in a yoga DVD until I watched a clip and decided that it was way too slow-paced. (They weren’t surprised, either.) But the tummy rubs that I already talked about come in handy here. Taking the time to pet a dog or give them a tummy rub helps me slow down. When Little One curls up beside me I want to savor the cuddle time. Having a dog also ensures that I’ll take breaks from the computer so that I can take her out to use the puppy restroom.
5. They love unconditionally. I’ve often told my dad that he should use Little One has a sermon example of unconditional love. If I step out for a minute to take out the trash, when I return she acts like I’ve been gone for hours. I have stepped on her tail before and once I pull back the bewildered look leaves her face. And if I don’t give her the human food that she’s pining away for, she has forgotten about it by the time I’m done.
What are some ways that you think dogs (or other animals) bring happiness?