We know that owning a dog makes the dog’s life better: loving caregivers, a safe place to eat and sleep, never have to worry about finding food or companionship.
But what about us? Do dogs make us better people?
Dogs teach us what it is to experience unconditional love; it helps us then practice giving unconditional love to others.
I once had a friend who told me that he owned a dog because “no matter what happened in my love life, I always knew that at least someone would be happy to see me when I came home.” Whether dogs truly love us or merely regard us as the “being that gives me food,” is often debated, but that wagging tail when you open the door sure feels like unconditional love… and it’s wonderful.
Being loved unconditionally often helps us stand back and say (something akin to) “If my dog loves me no matter what, who can I love no matter what?” It helps us take a look at our own selfish behavior and try to do better: to be more loving to those who are hard to love. After all, if our dog loves us no matter what – and we’re certainly often a “piece of work” – why can’t we practice what our dog preaches and love those among us who are “hard” to love.
Dogs understand that only this moment counts. They don’t worry about the future or the past. They are very much in “the now.”
Most of us are stressed to the max. Many knowledgeable people tell us that focusing only on the here and now – the “moment” – is a great way to calm our stress.
Watching how our dog is sad one minute then happy the next – for no apparent reason – can be a good habit to practice!
Dogs are cautious around strangers. The stranger must show he’s worthy of the dog’s trust.
How many times have you posted something on Facebook you later regretted (shared with people you don’t know who then decided to make some nasty comment or two)? How many times have you taken an acquaintance at her word, only to find that she’s duped you? While trust is something more of us need to show, we also need to show it more to those who are trustworthy and less to those who have yet to show us they are, indeed, someone to trust.
In other words, dogs patiently “sniff” strangers out. We’d be wise to follow their example.
Dogs make us healthier. We have to “walk” them at least daily, after all.
Numerous studies have shown – and WebMD.com reported – that owning a dog often lowers blood pressure, improves an individuals’ cholesterol numbers, helps a person lose weight, and delivers an increase in mood-raising brain chemicals.
These are just four ways our dogs help us become better people. What are some others?
When heading out of town, reward your four-legged personal improvement coach by treating him or her to a stay here at Barney’s Ranch. Contact us at 469-450-7040 or send us an e-mail at info@BarneysRanch.com to learn more about our day care and overnight boarding services.
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