It’s Saturday morning. You’ve worked hard all week and it’s time to sleep in. Yet your Spidey senses tell you that once more your well-deserved sleep-in hangs by a thread. Though your eyes remain closed, you just know that your dog sits nearby, patient but impatient, waiting for morning walkies and watching for the slightest stirring from you before going off like a confetti firecracker of excitement.
Remaining as motionless as possible, you stealthily open your eyes as little as possible. Through the eyelash haze, you realize that the sun has not yet risen. You tell yourself, “Just lie still and fall back to sleep. I can still sleep in if I just don’t move.” But a flinch betrays you. Your dog sees it, and in a nanosecond, your dog is bounding across your bed to shout by body language, “Yay! It’s time for walkies! Are you ready for walkies? I’m ready for walkies! Let’s go for walkies!” The next thing you know, you’re outside, groggily walking your dog while wearing the first clothes you found lying around. And in the pre-dawn light, you realize that you somehow managed to put on two different shoes.
Even the most ardent dog lovers have those days when dog ownership can feel less than rewarding. Yet by the boundless universe of love that dogs have for us, even bad-behavior moments can serve to remind us of why we were attracted to dog ownership in the first place to enrich our lives.
In honor of National Dog Week, which celebrates the unconditional love that dogs have for their owners, here are three reasons why we love dogs, even though they can occasionally annoy us.
Messy Eating and Drinking
Some breeds (like Pugs and Persians) are predisposed to messy eating and drinking due to facial conformation that prevents them from getting food into their mouths and keeping it there long enough to chew and swallow properly. Other dogs may have underlying medical conditions that prevent them from eating without coughing, gagging or regurgitating food and/or water. Yet many dogs simply eat and drink with such enthusiasm that you’re left cleaning up food bits and drool-laced water from the floor after every meal, which can be aggravating. Yet the dinnertime zeal of dogs is also inspiring.
Where humans can easily get bored eating the same thing two days in a row, dogs will happily chow down the same bowl of food for months or years on end, which reminds us that happiness rarely comes from thinking about something we don’t have, or could have had, or should have had. It’s comes from seeing what we do have and diving in each day with unbridled appreciation.
Soaking You by Shaking Right Beside You
Your dog has just come indoors after a romp around the back yard in the rain. You tell your dripping pooch, “Hold right there while I get a towel. Don’t shake!” But your dog doesn’t understand “towel” or “don’t” or even what the problem is. Your dog has a much simpler solution and exuberantly shakes as if to say, “Right then! Problem solved! Let’s move on.”
Mopping up walls, the floor and yourself in such situations can certainly be irritating. Yet they also serve as important reminders to us about solving problems. Sometimes, we don’t need to wait on external solutions before we can move past things and get on with our lives. Oftentimes, we have simple solutions right at our fingertips. And all we need to do is ignore the don’ts (whether our own or someone else’s) and just embrace what’s available to us to get the job done. Apart from that, having a good shake can simply be exhilarating, whether you’re walking in from a swim in a lake or ocean or just enjoying a good shake after a shower.
Bothering You When You’re Trying to Work
You’re working at your laptop, trying to come up with a creative slant or solution for a project or problem, and while your inspiration seems stuck, you feel you can unstick it by ploughing ahead for hours. Yet your dog continually interrupts you by whining, or pawing at you, or flopping across your keyboard as if to say, “Take a break. Let’s take a walk! Let’s do anything other than what you’re doing!”
While a dog’s motives at such times are entirely self-serving, your dog’s sheer boredom is your reminder that movement can boost brain power and improve creativity.
In recent studies out of Stanford University, researchers examined the creativity levels of people while they walked versus sitting and found that a person’s creative output increased by an average of 60% when walking. This included both walking outdoors and walking on an indoor treadmill. In similar studies by Texas A&M University, researchers found that students who used standing desks performed better in school than students who sat all the time. So, take the cue when your dog seems to be saying, “Don’t you think you’ve been sitting long enough?”
Take a break. Take your dog for a walk, play fetch in the back yard or just engage your dog with a tug toy for a while. Just take a moment to move. You dog will likely quiet down for a while after that and you may discover that you suddenly have a creative solution to a problem that has been eluding you.
For whatever reasons you love your dog (even if those reasons occasionally annoy you), we encourage you to celebrate those reasons during National Dog Week, and there are many ways to do it.
Treat your dog to an extra dog snack after a romp in the woods or dog park. Bring home an exciting new toy. Or just hug them a little longer and tighter. In the endless ocean of love that exists in a dog’s heart, simple everyday expressions of affection tell your dog that you will always be standing there on the shore for them, and by that, they will always be the tide coming in for you.