Dogs eat a lot, poop a lot, eat their own poop, have many other bad habits, and get into all kinds of mischief. They are expensive, and require a lot of effort and time.
So why do people even think of getting a dog?
For me, life before dogs was not very happy, nor very healthy. The only time I used to laugh was when I was chugging gin and tonic (love that drink!). Now, my dogs make me laugh all the time. I have a Shiba Inu called Gin, and a Siberian Husky called Tonic.
For real? Nah.
Here are five key reasons why people get dogs, and why dogs are worth all of, and more than what we put into them.
** Note – If you are interested in getting a dog, do not buy one from an online-buy-a-puppy site or from a pet store. Such places support and finance puppy mills that not only breed unhealthy puppies, but also keep their dogs in cruel conditions. Instead, consider adoption or getting a dog from an accredited Kennel Club breeder.
1. A dog will keep you happy, healthy, and help you lose some weight
Physical exercise is extremely important to living a healthy and happy life.
I hear this all the time, but motivating myself to actually go to the gym every day is close to impossible. I pretty much have to fight a mental battle with myself everyday, and frequently, it is my lazy butt persona who wins.
Dogs need to take walks every day. In rain, shine, or snow I take my dogs out for their daily walks.
Unlike visits to the gym, I can’t get lazy, and I can’t come up with excuses of other things I need to do. When it is time for their walks, they will come and find me, and give me intense, meaningful looks.
I have had several fitness coaches, but none have been able to motivate me as well as my dogs. Those deep eyes, and expectant faces gets me off my lazy butt every day of the week.
2. A dog will keep your mind engaged and active
In addition to physical exercise, mental exercise is also important to living a healthy life. My dogs have taught me many things, and they continue to challenge me every day.
For example, dogs have a really weird fashion sense. They do not see the difference between a pair of torn-up sneakers, and my prizedJimmy Choo shoes. Both are fair game as chew toys. They also think that mud on designer clothing is very much in style. Therefore, I have to come up with many ingenious ways to convince them that there is some value to human fashion after all.
Getting dogs to respect human fashion, as well as follow basic house rules and manners, can take a surprising amount of time and mental effort. As a result, I think less about food, and burn off extra calories while matching mental wills with my dogs; otherwise called dog obedience training.
Therefore, in addition to being great teachers, dogs are also great diet coaches!
Just don’t ask them for advice when it comes to fashion.
From the dog’s point of view, his master is an elongated and abnormally cunning dog.
~~[ Mabel Louise Robinson ]
3. A dog will teach you to relax and be Zen
Embrace nothing: If you meet the Buddha, kill the Buddha. If you meet your father, kill your father. Only live your life as it is, Not bound to anything.
~~[ Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C. ]
Live in the moment, and follow your own wisdom, that is what Zen is about.
Telling someone to “live in the moment” is similar to telling someone to “buy low and sell high”. Easy to say, but very difficult to implement. Dogs, however, make living in the moment seem easy, because that is what they naturally do every second of the day.
Some people mistake this to mean that dogs do not feel or do not have memories. Quite the opposite.
Dogs feel very strongly, and they can have very detailed memories of things.
Just like us, they may feel stressed, or depressed. However, the key difference is they move on and leave the past behind.
My dogs help me stay connected to the world around me. They provide me with a fun, and sometimes very demanding activity to take my mind away from my troubles. They teach me to move on and let things go, just by being who they are.
This results in less stress, less sadness, and a happier, healthier life.
4. A dog will make you laugh
My dogs make me laugh every day. They are always doing silly and funny things that make me smile, even when I am troubled.
My Shiba Inu has this butt-in-the-air move (see below) that he thinks is just too hot to touch. Whenever he has an audience, he will start performing this butt-move as if to say,“look at me, I’m too sexy!”.
Studies have shown that there are many health benefits to laughter. It can boost our immune system and help stave off viral infections. It can help us relax, and reduce stress related illnesses (e.g. high-blood preassure, ulcers).
Laughter is also a good tonic against negative feelings such as depression, frustration and anger. A life filled with laughter, is a good life.
The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too.
~~[ Samuel Butler,Notebooks, 1912 ]
5. A dog will be your loyal friend for life
Dogs spend much of their lives observing us; our mannerisms, routines, and quirks. They probably understand us better than we understand ourselves.
As a result, dogs share a bond with us that is difficult to replicate with people.
They have a natural sense of empathy, and can easily sense changes in our emotions, however slight. Thus while everyone else may be oblivious to my troubles, my dog will come over and put his head on my lap.
Strange as it may seem, dogs communicate better than people do. Although they may speak a different language, they express themselves more clearly and more truthfully. They don’t say yes when they mean no and vice versa.
With a dog you always know where you stand.
The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man’s.
~~[ Mark Twain, letter to W.D. Howells, 2 April 1899 ]