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10 Reasons Why I Am a Dog Person
Growing up, I never owned a dog. Our family always had cats, and I was happy with that. While I wasn't exactly afraid of dogs, I never felt very comfortable around them. I considered myself to be a "cat person" and figured that I would always prefer cats to dogs.
After my husband and I got married, we had two cats, and they were great pets - full of personality, playful and very affectionate. One of them went on to live for 17 happy years, and he will always hold a special place in my heart.
A couple of years after our kids were born, my husband started talking about the idea of getting a dog. We still had our two cats, but he thought a dog would be a great addition to our family. I wasn't so sure. I just envisioned more work and didn't really see a lot of potential benefits to owning a dog.
I resisted the idea of getting a dog, and stalled for as long as I could. However, I was doomed the day we went to "just look at" some chocolate lab puppies at a breeder's house. There's not much in this world that is cuter than pudgy little labrador retriever puppies running around, and of course I fell in love with them. It wasn't long before we had one of our own - a male named Jake.
We only had Jake for a few years when he escaped our yard one rainy night shortly after we had moved to a new house. Tragically, he was hit by a car and killed. His death was a huge loss to our family, and I came to realize how much I had loved him. While we didn't rush out to replace him, I knew it was only a matter of time before we would get another dog.
We now have two dogs - a four year old chocolate lab and a one year old Australian Shepherd. We have raised them both from puppies, and they have become an important part of our family life.
Here are what I consider to be the benefits of dog ownership, and why I now consider myself a dog person:
Dogs help keep you active
Dogs need to be active. Some breeds require A LOT of exercise and activity in order to prevent boredom and keep them out of trouble. They can help give you that extra motivation you need to go for a walk or hike, and they can make it much more fun.
Dogs can help you feel safe
While I've never been terribly anxious or paranoid when I'm home alone, having two dogs in the house makes me feel safe and protected.
I also know that burglars would likely think twice about breaking in when they hear the barking of our two "guard dogs."
Dogs love water
I could watch our dogs swim in the lake all day. There's such joy in a dog when it swims or splashes around that you can't help but share their happiness.
Our family loves vacationing at cottages on the water, and I'm so happy that our dogs are able to enjoy these trips with us.
Dogs are social
Dogs love to meet other dogs and other people. They are a great ice-breaker. I'm happily married, so I have no need to use dogs to meet men.
However, I have been able to strike up conversations with neighbours and complete strangers while walking our dogs without feeling weird about it, or running out of things to talk about.
Dogs like car rides
While I'm sure that there could be people whose cat, rabbit or hamster loves to go on a car ride, I think these are quite rare. All of the cats I have ever owned have hated going anywhere in the car, and a ten minute drive to the vet was always torture for all involved.
On the other hand, our dogs will happily accompany us on any trip. Whether it's a five minute drive to run an errand, a twenty minute drive to visit a friend's farm or go to the beach, or a drive halfway across the country on a family vacation, they are always up for any adventure.
Dogs are excellent companions
Dogs seem to know when you are feeling sick, lonely or sad and do their best to cheer you up. They will keep you company while you're just hanging out or doing work around the house and get really excited when you want to play.
Dogs never make excuses, and they don't hold grudges.
We all could learn a thing or two from dogs about how to be a good friend.
Dogs make you laugh
Dogs do silly things. No matter how down or mad you might be, it's hard not to laugh when you find your dog in the most unlikely place or doing something ridiculous.
I think when you have more than one dog the opportunities for silly antics increases exponentially, and I find myself laughing at one or the other of our dogs many times throughout the day.
Dogs can help relieve stress
Petting a dog or cat has been shown to reduce blood pressure and reduce stress. Having your dog come snuggle with you can brighten your mood and help you forget your troubles.
Of course the extra fresh air and exercise that you may get when you own a dog is also a great way to keep your stress levels down.
Dogs are great family pets
Dogs can teach children a lot of valuable life lessons, like responsibility and empathy.
They can help keep kids active, and give them someone to play with when there are no friends around.
And the #1 reason why I'm now a dog person?
Because I can't imagine ever not having a dog again.
There has definitely been some added work and expenses with having dogs as pets, but the advantages have far outweighed the disadvantages.
Our two dogs have become such an important part of our family, that I can't imagine not having them around.