Opinion

The dog benefit

Actress Lillian Gish

Actress Lillian Gish (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I grew up with dogs. So did a lot of you.

When I was an adult, I went a long stretch without having any pets—dogs, cats, fish or otherwise.

I had friends who had dogs, sure, but that wasn’t like having one of your own around, in your own place. But getting a dog fix, if even for only a short time, is better than no time at all around dogs.

I don’t have regrets.

But I do wonder how things would have turned out if I’d have been lucky enough to have had a dog to come home to at the end of a long day (for more times in my life than not).

Dogs help calm us down, take the edge off.

Maybe you only need one stiff drink instead of two to take the edge off if you have a dog.

Maybe you just think less about what happened wrong and end up being more relaxed. Dogs don’t judge. They just want you to be happy. And they help get you there by consistently being there for you—day in and day out,.

Dog time

Anyone who has come home after a particularly stressful or troubling day and has dogs, understands the benefit of dog time.

For me, dog time, occurs daily of course, but the extended dog time I enjoy is on Saturday mornings, when he and I can sometimes spend a good chunk of the morning together by ourselves.

He’s active and he’s involved in things like looking out the window, patrolling, making sure not just our house, but the houses in front and back, and on either side of ours, are safe.

He barks inside the house at something I can’t see or hear but he can, however, never overdoing it. He knows if I don’t react in kind (I start barking, too), that there really isn’t anything to be too concerned over; he knows I’ve got this.

During the week, we’re alone in the evening sometimes, but he chooses these times to fall asleep and start snoring. This gives me a peaceful, easy feeling. Yes, he snores like a truck driver, but it makes me remember that it’s times like these that make life truly worth living.

My dog knows the value of getting sleep and resting. And at every opportunity he can, too. I never thought I’d enjoy naps as much as I do, but I do. I suppose I don’t “enjoy” naps so much as I realize how good I feel after I’ve taken one.

Getting up slowly, stretching, yawning more than once—all the while as the understanding that I feel better for having put my head down is washing over me.

Dogs get it and they don’t verbalize. They do understand what we say, but I don’t need to ever wish they’d speak my language, because by not actually speaking English, they tell me everything I need to know about how they’re feeling about our situation at any given moment.

And besides, I think it’d be just plain weird if they could actually speak to us in our native tongues. It would take away a lot of the mystique that dogs have. It would probably negate their magic. It would most certainly negatively impact their ability to heal and calm us by articulating their thoughts, rather than just by emoting and displaying them—like silent movie stars..

Dogs are perfect the way they are—each and every one of them.

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