Even though, when you ask most humans why they have a dog, their spontaneous response is usually “for companionship”, there may actually be far more subtle reasons we humans aren’t even aware of that speak to the many human needs that might be left unfulfilled if we were unable to share our lives with a furry friend.
“Companionship and affection and they never get grumpy” “Because I’ve always had them and I love them and they’re a calming effect in our lives. They comfort me and my wife.”
We asked some of our clients and strangers, too:
“What’s your number one reason for having a dog in your life?”
Here are some of the spontaneous comments we gathered…
Isn’t it so very interesting that many of us humans, even those who are married and have children in their families, and lots of friends, seem to have dogs in our lives for “companionship”, “love” and “affection”? Beyond these very important aspects of our human lives, perhaps our dogs are so much more than we even realize.
Dogs Are Our Helpers
We wouldn’t be where we are in society today without the help of many working breed dogs that helped us humans in so many ways. If us humans had a need, we could find (or create) a dog that would provide the answer.
We have working dogs for herding, hunting, guarding, rescuing, policing, bomb detection, drug sniffing, border patrol, emergency response, service for the handicapped, therapy for nursing homes, rehabilitation and detention centers.
“Companionship.” “Because my husband wanted one. I grew up with cats and he wanted a dog.”
Dogs Are Faithful Companions
In today’s society, for the most part, while our dogs still play a vital role in many areas of our human lives, we don’t require our dogs to work the herds and guard our fields alongside of us like they used to, and thus our dogs are more often fulfilling the part of faithful companion for many of us humans.
Dogs Are Great Listeners
No matter how busy our spouses, children or friends may be and how crazy busy our daily lives, our dogs are always there, waiting to sit quietly and listen to anything we have to say, blindly accepting everything we are – whether good, bad, or otherwise, without passing judgment.
Dogs Are Our Fitness Coaches
We humans go to great lengths buying memberships at our local gymnasiums, driving to the local fitness center, buying the latest exercise DVD’s and lugging home the best, new exercise devices, when our dogs are the very best fitness coaches, always waiting and willing to go for a walk, a hike in the park a swim in the lake, a run along the shoreline. If we humans would just listen to our dogs, who are all natural athletes, follow their example and get out there, we’d all be healthy and fit.
“I fostered her and my husband fell in love with her and I kept her for him.
Dogs Are Giving Without Expectation
Our dogs give so much of themselves to us every single day.
They wait patiently for us to be finally ready to take them for a walk.
They let us dress them up in silly clothes, and style their coats in ways pleasing to human fashion.
They learn how to do tricks because it makes us humans happy and they follow our commands the best they can because they always want to please us.
All of this and so much more, yet they don’t “expect” anything in return other than to be with us. Margery Facklam (award winning Children’s Science author) could not have been more correct when she said, “We give dogs time we can spare, and love we can spare. In return, dogs give us their all. It’s the best deal man has ever made.”
“For affection – the dogs give me affection and I give them affection.” “Because they make me laugh every day and remind me about the really important things in life.”
Dogs Are Unconditional Love
If we’re lucky in our human relationships, we may find that elusive “unconditional love” and acceptance we’re all looking for, or we can simply share our lives with a dog and have a guaranteed endless supply.
The canine capacity for unconditional love is likely the biggest reason that dog has become man’s best friend.
Further, when it comes down to displaying unfettered love and affection, a dog can always outdo us humans without even working at it because he or she is born with it.
Think of all those times you’ve had a trying day, you’re a complete grouch, you ignore your dog, and show him no love or affection whatsoever. Does he hold this against you or ignore you back?
Of course not. He waits patiently for you to decide you’re ready to be social again, and then is just happy that you are there. When it comes to unconditional love, our dogs win hands down.
“To rescue him from homelessness, or from being unwanted by his previous owner”.
Dogs Are Joy
Dogs are always showing us the joy in everyday things that us busy humans often don’t take the time to even notice. If we slow down just a bit and watch, we can enjoy vicarious, spontaneous joy through our dogs.
Dogs live for the moment, and when you have a dog in your life, you can learn this, too.
A dog appreciates every fine moment of each new day and doesn’t complain about it, and we can certainly follow their lead and learn to be grateful for all that we have.
When we learn to live our lives more fully in the present, we naturally have more enthusiasm, less worry and a more simplified joy for life, just like our dogs.
Dogs Are Keeping Us Young
Dogs are always ready and waiting to give us an opportunity to be silly and child-like any time we feel like it, which is a side of grown up and responsible adults that we most often don’t allow ourselves to experience with our peers.
“Because taking care of them helps me enjoy a better quality of life.”
Dogs Are Our Connection With Nature
Dogs are always reminding us that there’s a whole great, big, wide, wonderful world of beautiful nature out there for us to explore that is so much more interesting, educational and spiritually uplifting than sitting in front of our TV’s watching the latest movie, playing the latest video game or chatting on our smart devices.
Dogs are always showing us that we need to take the time to notice all that is growing, living and breathing around us.
Dogs are telling us to pay attention and take the time to appreciate the flowers, smell the ocean breeze, wonder where that bald eagle builds its nest, marvel at how far that tiny hummingbird had to fly to get here.
Our dogs are encouraging us to pause for a moment and watch the most outstanding sunrise and enjoy these many free gifts from nature that expand our minds, bring peace to our souls, and are simply without compare.
“Companionship – they’re interesting – to have something to nurture and because they provide unconditional love.”
Dogs Are Uninhibited
Perhaps our dogs remind us about how great it would be to be so uninhibited and not worry about how others think about our fun, crazy, playful moments, because it’s so much more important to really notice the day and laugh out loud than worry about how we look.
George Evans (Outdoor Essayist and Dog Breeder) captured the essence of the uninhibited dog quite perfectly when he said, “I think we are drawn to dogs because they are the uninhibited creatures we might be if we weren’t certain we knew better.”
Dogs Are Holistic Medicine
Dogs are truly medicine without the side-effects.
So many of us humans lead very stressful lives, we’re overworked and underpaid, run ragged trying to keep up with our families and friends and because of our fast-paced lifestyles have little, if any, truly “me” time.
This leads us down a path that can cause ill health, which in turn sees us swallowing all sorts of drugs to try to find a way to cope or reach a balance or inner peace that will work for us.
Many times, instead of reaching for the medicine cabinet, what we really need is a peaceful walk with our fur friend, a moment to sit on a park bench or grassy knoll, and watch the clouds roll by, while stroking the soft, stress-reducing fur of our favourite canine.
This loving companionship we receive from our dogs is obviously a very special type of companionship that we just don’t get from our human family members or significant others.
Perhaps it’s because humans can be judgmental, have expectations about how you should look and act, and usually have limiting boundaries, which means that no matter how special a relationship you might have with your human counterparts, there are still many social boundaries we feel we must adhere to.
Could it be that the only time we humans feel that we can escape from feeling overwhelmed with our daily lives, when we can experience moments of loving, unconditional companionship where we can totally relax, be 100% ourselves, carefree and connected with our inner child, enjoying the bliss of the simple things in life, where we give ourselves permission to be spontaneous and crazy loving, is not with our children, our friends or our life partners, but rather, it’s that precious time we spend time with our dog(s)?
Of course, what our dogs bring to our human lives will be special to every dog and personal to each and every one of us humans, as we and our dogs are all individuals with unique needs.
What do you get from YOUR dog that you may not be consciously aware of, because of course, our special dogs are all of the above, and so much more.
– Asia – Dog Whispering for 40+ years
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