My literally little dog is now 2.5 years old, while my life since I got her changed drastically, and only for the better. I remember writing on my old blog, long time ago when I got her, about how owning a dog changes your life. Luna – the name of my Shih-Tzu lady dog, translated means “moon”, is a cute lovable bowl of fur that only makes my life more beautiful.
Luna lives inside my house and she’s sleeping with me when she wants to, usually when it’s not too hot, then she prefers the cooler floor. She’s quite spoiled but also well educated, and she knows how to ask for things when she wants them. Her main thing is the food. No matter how tired or how fun is the game she’s playing, if the fridge opens she’s there. Tail up, wiggling, puppy cute eyes – waiting for you to share with her whatever you are eating. She’s not picky at all.
Every dog is unique, but all share the same insane amount of love and fidelity, and having a dog in your life has benefits for both your physical and mental health. I’m going to tackle some on the lines below; but beyond any list, a dog is a life experience hard to describe in words, it needs to be experienced. That’s why dog owners seem to never run out of subjects of conversation, exactly like parents. I’m grateful every day for the joy and laughs and positivism Luna brings to my life.
(1) A dog is a great mood-lifter
No matter how tired you are when you come home from work, your dog is the happiest to see you. Every. Given. Day. He wiggles his tail, he jumps on you, he runs around the house bringing you a toy to play with, and licks your hands or face if you let him… and this happens with such an intensity you wonder how miserable he must have felt while you were away.
I recall a joke I read recently, that if you lock your wife and your dog in your car’s trunk for a few hours, who is going to he really happy to see you when you open the trunk? J
The dog’s joy lifts your mood almost instantly, as you start playing with him, hug and caress him. How can you not be happy when you see such a great display of love and affection?
(2) A dog teaches you to live in the now
He’s happy right now (every right now), no matter what happens next. He knows you’re about to leave for work and leave him alone for a few hours, but he’s happy till the very moment you leave. He probably knows what’s next, but chooses to enjoy the present.
(3) A dog shows the importance of touching
No matter the little space, your dog will sit as close as possible to you, in your lap ideally. That’s the way he feels safe and loved. Especially when he feels ill or cold, he’ll come even closer to you. Touching is so important in the non-verbal language of unconditional love and trust, and dogs are masters at speaking this language.
(4) A dog will keep you exercising
As he needs walking every day, this will become your habit. You will get the minimum of 30 min of exercise you need, every day, at minimum. Plus, walks with him are never boring. You get to laugh a lot, meet new people, make new friends and sometimes get into some funny trouble. You really can’t avoid feeling alive when you live with a dog.
(5) A dog will teach you all about responsibility
You will learn how to take care of a creature that is totally dependent on you. You need to make sure you feed and exercise him regularly. Take him to the vet for his shots and appointments. Then teach him the house rules and the behaviors you expect from him outside. It’s a beautiful ride, where you’ll learn things about yourself you didn’t really think about.
(6) Living with a dog means paying attention
To life, to the surroundings and to him. Looking out for his mood swings, or if something happened to him. Or gazing at how cute he sleeps and feeling like cuddling next to him and hug and kiss him. Even if kissing him might make him quite uncomfortable 😀
(7) A dog means unconditional love
No matter how his behavior is during his bad moments or days (a dog has those too!) and how hard you scold him, he’ll stick around and try to make amends. He’ll be sad until you forgive him. There can’t be anything worse in this world for him than you being angry with him. His love is unconditional and endless, and it goes beyond pride and the need to be right.
A dog will teach you what real, unconditional love is, and it’s a great lesson to pay attention to. Having a dog in my life is one of the happiest decisions I took. I realize I would have missed on so many things otherwise. So yes, after 2.5 years of living with my dog, I am still extremely glad about the decision. It’s a ride, with ups and downs, but it’s a ride that I love. And who remembers the bad when at the end of the day you always end up cuddling the most lovable little bowl of happiness?