The keys to happiness are many. If you take the time to talk to people about what would make them happy, it seems that every person has at least one strong held belief or opinion about what would bring them true happiness. For some it’s a luxury home, a bank account overflowing with money, unlimited power, a new job, or even a different spouse. For others, they long for simple pleasures such as the love of a dog and the reasons why people love dogs are many.
This special breed of people will tell you that happiness is found in loving a dog and that living life through the eyes of a dog can bring deeper understanding to the meaning of life. The reasons why people love dogs are too numerous to count but there is a common thread that most dog lovers share and that some of the reasons why people love dogs so much is because they bring out the best in us and our lives are happier because they share it with us.
No matter who you are, true happiness can seem elusive at times; always out of reach-something meant for someone else. However, when asked, many people will say that true happiness is found in contentment, lending a hand, giving of one’s self, and the love of family and friends-both human and canine.
Dogs Enrich our Existence
Dog ownership is a big responsibility but it’s also a great gift. Dogs are known to bring their owners indescribable joy, peace, healing, contentment, companionship, and for some, a reason to go on. They love us without reservation and have no preconceived expectations of who we ought to be.
As soon as our eyes open each morning, our dog is there to greet us and just seeing that we’re awake fills them with pleasure.
Dogs greet each day anew and want to spend every moment with their humans. As they observe us, you can see the hope in their eyes. Will this be the day we don’t leave for work? Will we toss the ball one more time? Is there one more treat? Will I get to go too?
Dogs Don’t Hold Grudges
When we dash their hopes, they may suffer a moment of disappointment but they assimilate and move on. They don’t hold grudges, they accept our choices, they still hold fast to their faith in us. They continue to love us unconditionally.
On our worst days, we would be hard pressed to change their opinion of us. On our best days, they are happy to be by our side. Dogs are born with an incredible capacity for acceptance and forgiveness. Even in cases where terrible abuse or neglect has occurred, though they bare scars, generally dogs will give a new person a chance at love. For this reason alone, it is so easy to understand why people love dogs.
A Dog’s Keys to Happiness-Reasons Why People Love Dogs
If you take to the time to observe, dogs can teach humans about the keys to happiness, such as:
1. Giving: Dogs give 100% of who they are to their people, their job, and their goals. They don’t hold back or worry that their kindness or favors won’t be returned in the same measure. They freely give in the measure they choose to give.
2. Acceptance: Dogs are accepting creatures that are not easily disappointed. They accept their life for what it is but they do try to create happiness. They pursue things that will make them happy yet have the ability to remain content.
3. Purpose: Dogs live with purpose. Everything they do is infused with it. They approach life filled with enthusiasm, excitement, and a zest for living in the moment. They don’t put off living until tomorrow.
4. Resilience: The resilience of dogs is extraordinary. They don’t languish in past mistakes or wallow in regret. They don’t allow the past to ruin their day or their life. They may not forget, and they are wise, yet have the capacity to leave the past in the past.
5. Approval: Dogs love approval and their bodies wiggle in delight when they make us happy. This is why we can train them. However, they don’t require our approval for all of their choices and they don’t live in fear of our disapproval. When a dog picks out a toy or runs in circles rather than laps, they are not worrying over our opinion. They live to make themselves and those around them happy.
6. Trust: Dog’s place their trust in our hands every day. Dogs will run through fire, endure scary sounds, or charge into dangerous places because we train them to. Family pets trust that we’ll feed them, provide water, shade, and a nice cozy place to sleep. They trust that we’ll love them, cherish them, nurture, and not cause them harm. They don’t worry about how we will take care of them, they simply know we will.
7. Expectations: When their expectations aren’t met, even in their obvious disappointment, they move on to their next big adventure and make the most of the hand they’re dealt. Does this mean they are always satisfied? Most dog owners will answer, no. However, dogs do take life in stride and choose to live happy rather than in bitterness.
8. Love: Dogs love unconditionally. They love simply. They love purely. They are loyal, faithful, and worthy companions to the end.
It is said, when your vision of your life story is inadequate, depression can result. According to the psychologist Michele Crossley, depression frequently stems from an “incoherent story, an inadequate narrative account of oneself, or a life story gone awry.”
When we look at the world through the eyes of our dog, we can accomplish great things and our story can be beautifully and simply written.
Dogs give us that gift. For those of us who have received that gift, it is easy to understand why people love dogs.
Originally published for Pen and Ink Magic in July, 2015.