Dogs, as we all know, are the greatest. Owning a dog, one could reasonably* deduce, makes you the greatest by proxy! Well, okay, so we'll never truly be as great as dogs. After all, they get to pee outside and are greeted with indulgent chuckles when they hump attractive strangers of the opposite sex without preamble. Those are both offenses for which the cops could drag us off, sadly, which is proof that not only are dogs the greatest, but life as a dog is unmatched. Humping with impunity! That and also being perpetually nude but for a stylish collar. We may never be truly as great as dogs, but owning a dog – or as I like to call it, sharing living quarters with a dog – definitely makes us better people.
When I was growing up, I was lucky enough to co-habitate with two black labs. The first was a bitch named Hillary (my father is an ardent Republican and this was during the Clinton years), and later on, Milo. I learned a lot from both of them. Some of it was fundamental and person-forming, like learning that simple actions towards those we love mean the world. Other things were less defining but just as important, such as the all-important lesson that if company is coming over, wait until everyone has left the kitchen and then eat the entire cheese plate as quickly as you can. You will throw it back up. That is fine. Cheese plates taste just as good the second time around. How else are we supposed to learn these things if not for our canine friends? We wouldn't, is the answer, and that would be woeful to say the least.
I want to share with you just what exactly I think it is about life with a dog that makes us better people. So I'm going to. Hopefully my cats never discover that this has happened. Because those guys are assholes from whom I have learned jack-shit (JUST KIDDING OH GOD PLEASE DON'T PEE IN MY ARMOIRE.) Here are 11 ways having a dog makes you a better person
1. They Love Us Unconditionally, Thus Teaching Us To Love Unconditionally
It's easy to mess with dogs. "Wanna go out?" I say to Ody. He jumps up and races to the door and I cackle like the giant asshole I am. He's also an excellent punching bag. If I stub my toe I bellow, "GODDAMN IT, ODY," and he looks at me with pure guilt. But no matter how awful I am to him, he keeps on loving me. Oddly enough, that makes me be better, because he deserves it.
2. They Make Us Remember To Laugh Always
Much like the dog featured above, I too have an irrational and hilarious hatred for lettuce. Forget kids – it's dogs who actually do the darndest things. I once watched Ody quietly and methodically sneak up on my aged Persian cat and sit on his head, before loudly farting. Classic. You can't beat that stuff, really.
3. They Make It Impossible to Sweat The Small Stuff
What makes a dog happy? Psh, what doesn't? Say their name in a sweet voice, give them water and pets and food and love, and they are blissed out forever. So they have to be on a leash? So what? They don't care! They are going to have fun no matter what, and that mindset is contagious.
4. They Makes Us Appreciate Everything – No, Literally, All Of The Things
Dogs are magical for many reasons, but mostly because everything they see happens to be THE GREATEST THING EVER. I buy a new pair of shoes and Ody suffers paroxysms of joy. Fall comes and the last of the hot days goes away, he practically weeps while gallivanting around the park. Their mindset makes us more #grateful.
5. They Make Us Take Care of Ourselves
In life before dog, we'd put off going to the gym in favor of sitting on the couch all day. With a dog, that simply is not possible. Their butts need walking, and as a result, your butt goes walking. Puppies especially keep you fit. Especially if you live in a four-story walk-up.
6. They Make Us Less Selfish
Getting up before 9? Unthinkable...until you get a dog. Now, you're willing to give up your extra morning Zzzs for this furry little fellow. If I had a scooter (and were possibly deeply inebriated) I would let Ody try to ride it. Because he has made me generous. Also because his ass would be hilarious on a scooter.
7. They Help Us Meet New People
You just want him to crap so can get home and stare at the computer. But he is all "HELLO NEW FRIEND!" Sure, sometimes he has become besotted with a homeless man whose sole joy in this life is trying to pee on others, but other times he is all "BECCA, I LIKE THIS MAN, HE IS A BABE, LET'S BEFRIEND HIM" and when that stranger actually is a babe, that is awesome.
8. They Keep Us From Looking Like Assholes
You want to go home early from the lame party, but how do you make your exit without peace-ing out like a Grade A tool? EASILY: "I've got to get home to the dog. No, seriously. You would not believe the disasters he gets up to when left alone. Last night, I got home and he had an entire box of boiled pasta on his head. Also, the couch was on fire."
9. They Encourage Us to Try New Foods
Was this an excuse to post a GIF of a pug pretending that they are Lucille Ball? Sort of. But also dogs will eat anything – anything – so the point remains valid. Milo, the dog I grew up with, once ate seven black, frozen bananas, peels and all! My mother's dining room carpet was never the same. While I don't suggest taking a page from Milo's book, what's the harm in trying something new? You might like it! It is per my dog's suggestion that I now eat chicken bones I find on the street.
10. They Are The Perfect Shoulder to Cry On
You know who won't judge you for opening up and sobbing into their fur? A dog. Keeping your heart open and accepting comfort in its simple purest form? That's basically a key to staying human. So do that.
11. Sometimes They Look Like Tom Hanks
...and it is common knowledge that repeat exposure to Tom Hanks is what makes us all better people.
Images: Getty; Giphy (11)