“Dogs are like that, I guess. They know how to fix you without ever saying a word.” ~ Caroline George
Living in the Rocky Mountains, sometimes winter can be quite long. The shoveling, bad roads, ice scraping, layers of clothing, as an adult, winter can lose it’s charm quite quickly. But, today a dog I was walking during my side gig for Rover helped me see the world through his eyes. As dogs do, they bring joy to our lives and remind us to live in the moment and have fun. This giant Malamute was leaping off snowbanks, diving headfirst into the snow, licking it up with his tongue and couldn’t help but force me to laugh and appreciate the joy he found on this beautiful winter day. I think that’s why we love dogs so much, they help us lighten up, smile and seem to fill voids in our hearts that no human quite can.
Recently I started volunteering at local animal shelters since I’m not in a position to have a dog right now. What’s so touching about the dogs I walk is that even at this low point in their life, where their hearts could be broken and they only have the basic necessitates they need, they don’t give up. They’re tails still wag, they want to keep exploring and most important even if someone has given up on them, they won’t give up on humans. Rescue dogs might not fully forget the abuse or difficulties they experienced, but they continue to love. It’s an honest lesson we can all learn from. We live in a world that is always promoting what we need or want when it reality what fills us up is the simple things in life. If we all could only live whole hardheartedly as dogs do. Don’t worry so much about the future, look for simple pleasures in life, be more devoted and loyal. Comfort others because its the right thing to do, even when we don’t get that back in return. Stop worrying so much what you look like and live in the moment. Dogs truly teach us so much.
Mark Twain once quoted the honest words, “The more I learn about people, the more I like dogs.” I laughed at this true statement, in that many humans in our lives choose to let us down and maybe that’s why we adore animals so much. Their love is unselfish, pure, devoted and will love you more than they love themselves. I’ve owned three dogs in my life and each of them holds a special place in my heart, leaving memories I will never forget. When my daughter was young, I discovered a reading program with therapy dogs at the library. It was incredible how comfortable she became cuddled up next to them and how much better she read with no one to correct or judge her. But, we all can learn simple values by looking at our furry companions. For example, sometimes all you need is a listening ear, not an opinion. A dog knows that somehow a walk always makes life better and leaves you with a clearer mind. Sleep is essential and sometimes the best use of time even when you have things to do. Help someone just because, not from what you might get in return. Vanity is over-rated, so be content with enjoying the moment. Most important, show unconditional kindness, tenderness, and support because its the right thing to do.
Many studies prove dogs are good for our health on so many levels physically, mentally and emotionally. Dogs motivate many to have a healthier lifestyle by increased exercise, provide companionship, more socialization, sensory stress release, structure, and routine. Medical News Today recently reported, “When we interact with dogs, our Oxycontin levels shoot up, a hormone largely responsible for social bonding, which boosts our physiological well-being.” Authors Lawrence Robinson and Jeanne Segal Ph.D. also reported studies that prove dogs help lower blood pressure, cholesterol, reduce heart attacks and overall owners have fewer doctor visits. Playing with dogs elevates serotonin and dopamine as well, helping with anxiety and depression. No one can deny the positive impact dogs have on our lives.
With all that being said, dogs are incredible and add so much value. It’s important to make an educated and responsible decision on if you can devote the time, energy and money to having a pet. Do your research on what breed and age dog is best for your family. Consider the amount of exercise they need, the time you can devote, vet and grooming costs, your living space and training needed. If you can’t commit fully to owning a dog, you can always look for ways to help animals in our communities, sign up for local therapy dog programs, play with friends or dogs in your neighborhoods. Of course always head to the shelter when ready to add a new friend to your home, buying puppies online or pet stores comes with so many negatives, so do your research. As for me, I hope to live my life more like a rescue dog, remembering there might be bad in the world that leaves us with some scars, but that doesn’t mean love doesn’t exist moving forward. Be good to those loyal, furry, blessings in your life. You can always find hope in a dog’s eyes.