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11/21/2006

Why Do People Like Dogs So Much?

A good friend recently sent me an email stating that she was enjoying the daily updates, since I've been blogging every day this month. I thanked her and promptly asked her for topic suggestions, as sometimes I'm at a loss. She offered some good ones, many that I don't think I have the ability to tackle, but there is one I'm pretty sure I know a little bit about:

Why do people like dogs so much?

Little Guy
Little Guy

I understand that this is a genuine question my friend tries to wrap her head around. She is not a dog person, at all. I remember her being pretty blunt when we added a second canine to our family and asked me point blank, "Why would you want another one?" I obviously can not relate to her feelings regarding dogs, but it does make sense to me in observing interests that others have that I just don't "get."

Why do people like dogs so much?

Rusty
Rusty

My love of dogs has ebbed, flowed, and evolved over the years. I had some less-than-positive situations when I was younger and have only become a "crazy dog lady" as an adult. Here are some of the reasons, and in no particular order except for how they pop into my brain, of why many people like love dogs so much:
  • Let's start with the obvious. Dogs are cute to many of us. Sure, we all have our own definitions as to what breeds or features are appealing, just as we all have different rules of human attractiveness. For instance, I tend to prefer canines that have fox type faces (pointed ears, long snouts) and long fur.
  • Dogs need us, they give us a purpose. A lot of us have the strong desire and/or need to care for other living beings, but do not necessarily yet have or ever want human children. So, we get pets...often dogs, and possibly even jobs that help attain that goal.
  • Maintaining wellness is really important for everyone. Our four-legged furry friends are masters at helping us do this. Not only do they get us up off the couch to stroll around the block or take a hike, but they can decrease our stress and blood pressure, as well as alleviate loneliness and isolation. I know if I've had a stressful day at work and don't feel like interacting with people, coming home and hugging my dogs is quite therapeutic.
  • Dogs break down social barriers for many of us. It's a known fact that if you go out in the world with a dog, you will have more social interaction than if you are alone. Others will smile and perhaps even talk to you. They may ask to pet your dog. It's a nice ice breaker to enter into a conversation that may have never taken place. There is a reason that there are singles events at dog parks and web sites like this. Dog="social lubricant."
  • Dogs remind us to play. Well, they often demand it and we remember that it is fun and important to be silly and laugh. You don't even need fancy toys. Just relax and follow your dog's lead.
  • Sensory input is really important. A dog can provide so much of that from being something soft to pet to being a warm body snuggled up against you. My dog Little Guy will hop on my lap and nestle the top of his head under my chin. It is the best.
  • Do you ever need to get something off of your mind or practice saying something difficult? Well, a dog can be a great listener. They aren't so good at giving feedback, but that's okay. The point is to be able to talk and not get an opinion back.
  • The love of a dog is unconditional. Dogs don't care what political affiliations or religious beliefs you have. They don't care if you take a shower or not. You can gain 90 pounds and they'll still love you. We are constantly judged by others, and even ourselves, but not by our faithful canine companions. Now, they may get a little irritable if you don't feed them one day, but that's an easy one to resolve.
Cosette
Cosette

Why do you love dogs? If you claim that you don't like them at all, I invite you to spend 5 minutes with Rusty. He's changed minds before.

11 comments:

Scaramouche Jones said...

Dogs bite :)

Nanette said...

Aww, very nice post. :) I like dogs, but not enough to own one, at least at the moment.

Anonymous said...

I like to joke that my ex-husband's dogs were partly responsible for our divorce...I am not a dog person, he was a dog person. I'll leave it at that. I could be convinced to try again someday, with the right dog, under the right circumstances. But for now, I prefer the company of a cat. One more great reason to like dogs (or cats really) - you won't ever have to pay to put them through college!

Lisa said...

I love dogs for all the reasons that you listed. But mostly because dogs are so sweet, and I have always said that they have pure hearts. whenever they do something wrong, it is always very innocent (like their nose got the better of them) - never because they want to spite you.

also, I think that's so true what you said how all dogs are cute but we are all still attracted to different types of dogs. i tend to be more attracted to dogs with floppy ears.

mini driver wannabe said...

If you ever met my Chloe, you would know why I love dogs. (I have a feeling she might be a lot like your Rusty) She is smart, active, fun and even a tad bitey (in the play arena). She is a lot of fun and can go for hours. she is also a good listener, and a great snuggler. and she is only six pounds so she is easily portable.

Jodi said...

Mr. Jones: Dogs only bite clowns.

justJENN said...

Dogs will knit you a sweater and fetch you your cafe latte just how you like it. Or maybe I was thinking of something else...giraffes?

Jodi said...

Well, you can knit a sweater out of dog fur, but that's just creepy.

rosalind said...

i have a dog but only coz my partner wanted one, i cant be bothered with it as i dont see the point. i have 2 children and i would rather put my energy into caring for them instead of cleaning up after a dog.

Marcus said...

I grew up in the country and dogs were always part of my life. Growing up we always had English Mastiffs.

They are loyal and true friends. The singnal me when danger is near. They stand up to protect me and my family. They love to play and just hang out with you.

They are amazing creatures.

jeremy said...

I love dogs,I consider my dog as my best-friend. I love you, DJ.

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