Some of the reasons to own a dog might vary from person to person, but I think most dog people will agree that once you've experienced the love of a dog, you'll never want to be without it. The few times I've not been able to have a dog, there's been a big void in my life. Fortunately, the two canine pals that currently share my home more than fill it.
So why have a dog?
It's virtually impossible to live with a dog and still be lonely. Even if you don't care to be around people, dogs have a way of wiggling their way into your heart and won't be ignored. Who can say no to a wet nose and those big brown eyes?
Have a bad day at work? Dealing with depression or cabin fever? A dog can bring sunshine into your home with a simple wag of a tail and a sloppy-kiss greeting when you walk into the room. It's hard to be down when met by someone who's always glad to see you, no matter what.
Education and responsibility
Having a dog to care for can teach responsibility to a child, and help prepare them for future responsibilities as an adult. Providing food, water, shelter, and exercise for a dog requires a certain amount of commitment. If you homeschool, there are innumerable ways a dog can fit into impromptu lesson plans.
Exercise and physical health
Are you a couch potato? Dogs need regular exercise and I can't think of a better reason to get my butt up out of the chair than to take my two out for a quick jaunt up the street. Tossing a toy and playing 'bring it' also gives me a much needed break from stress several times a day.
The presence of a large dog in the home is definitely a deterrent to potential burglars, but even a small dog will make an intruder think twice. The little guys tend to put up more of a fuss when something is amiss, and I dare anyone to try to get past the 22 lb Jack Russell Terrier who will greet them at my door.
Like to walk or jog in the morning before work, or after the kids have gone to bed? A dog trotting along beside you provides a measure of safety when out roaming the streets after dark.
There's nothing better on a cold day than a warm pup sitting in your lap or across your feet. If you're not squeamish about animals in your bed, they're great to cozy up with under the covers too.
Fill the nest
When kids grow up and head out on their own, it's not unusual for parents to feel a bit left out or unneeded after the nest empties. The tap-tap of a dog's fingernails on the floor isn't exactly like the pitter-patter of little feet, but can be a pretty good substitute (with no college tuition required).
Dogs can be some of the most entertaining creatures on this earth. Not a day goes by that one or both of mine doesn't have me almost in tears from laughing at their antics. A good belly laugh is therapeutic.
The term unconditional love is cliché, but describes the love shared with a dog perfectly. I've known dogs of all shapes and sizes, those you could carry with one hand as well as those you could fit a saddle on -- all have been as devoted to me as only a dog can be. No matter my mood or reaction to life's challenges, my canine companions have been by my side and helped get me through the dark spots. I've been disappointed by many people, but the loyalty of a dog has never let me down.
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