We know that humans have a lot to offer dogs – after all, their species never would have shacked up with ours if there wasn’t anything in it for them! Yet this relationship between human and dog is a two-way street, as, while we offer food, shelter, and protection, dogs offer quite a bit by virtue of their companionship. Indeed, while once upon a time the domesticated dog protected, hunted, and herded for us, these days dogs are largely just a social companion, and as such, they offer more to us than we do to them! But what exactly is it that a dog gives us that keeps so many people raising and adopting dogs across the world?
1. An Excuse to Exercise
It’s funny to think that we need to find excuses to do what we should be doing anyway, but such is our busy modern lifestyles. There are often so many things competing for our energy and attention – our friends, our family, our jobs, the media, and the need to take some “me time” for sanity’s sake – that we can forget that exercise is an important part of our daily regimen. Dogs, however, require exercise and even insist on it; if you don’t provide them with that exercise, you’re just plain being a bad owner. With a dog insisting on exercise, it’s easy for you to get roped into playing, walking, and running with our dog too – much to your benefit!
2. An Opportunity to Interact
Similarly in those modern busy lifestyles, we often just don’t take the time to say hello to someone we pass on the street or whom we happen to bump into. Instead we just keep our eyes down and hurry on our way. However, a dog has no such compunctions about stopping and saying hello in the only ways they know how: a sniff, a lick, and an entreaty to pet! This is especially true when a dog runs into another dog – they just have to take the time to get to know each other! The owners on the other end of the leashes have that time to get to know each other as well, expanding your social circle and helping you to make new connections, ones you never would have made without your dog!
3. The Need to Touch and be Touched
This is a rather elemental benefit we get from dogs. The simple fact is that, as living breathing human beings we need to touch and be touched in return. This is a simple fact, and even as babies, our development can be very negatively impacted if we are not regularly touched, handled, held, and so on. This need continues throughout life, but your mother won’t always be there to hold your hand and burp you! Sometimes, we can feel downright lonely, in fact. However, a dog always wants to be petted, always wants to rub up against you, jump up on you, rough-house and play, and so on.
+Neil Kilgore asks not what dogs can do for us, but what we can do for dogs! He regularly blogs about dogs, breeders and puppies on the Greenfield Puppies website.