If you want to know why people love dogs, you can find a great deal of scientific evidence online. It seems as though, as humans, we’re always looking for explanations for our behavior and our feelings.
I’m not going to deal with any of that here, and that’s why you won’t find any links in this post (other than the one that will take you to the story of Greyfriars Bobby) – I haven’t done any research. This is quite simply from the heart. It has nothing to do with why people in general love dogs, it has to do with why I love dogs so much.
The inspiration for this post came from my most recent visit with my sister, Colleen, her husband, Max, and my little nephew, Owen. Of course, Max wouldn’t have said this in front of Owen, but when Owen left the room to go play in the yard, Max said, “Ash, I know you tolerate Owen well enough, but for sure you don’t look at him the way you look at dogs. You don’t get that ‘melty all over’ appearance. Why is that? What makes you so crazy about dogs?”
Honestly, I didn’t really have an answer for my brother-in-law. The best I was able to offer was “I’ll think about it, and get back to you.” I’d never really thought about it – I’ve never been all that crazy about kids, but I’m a total softie when it comes to dogs. Why, though?
When I got home, I made myself a cup of tea, sat down and gave the matter some serious thought. Why do I love dogs more than I do humans?
I figured Max deserved an answer, so this post is for him.
Obviously, I’m not the only dog-crazy person out there. I do have human friends, of course, but most of them are also dog people, and I’m pretty sure that if I were to ask any of them for their thoughts, they’d probably also say that they’d choose the company of a dog over that of a human, if they had to make a choice between one or the other.
The following are my reasons why I love dogs so much.
I’m constantly amazed by the fact that dogs and humans are completely different species, and yet many humans prefer the company of a dog to that of a human, and dogs seem to prefer human company to that of their own kind. I also find it remarkable that, even though we don’t have a spoken language in common, we seem to communicate very well with one another.\
Pretty much everyone knows the tale of Greyfriars Bobby, the Skye Terrier who moved into Greyfriars Kirkyard where his owner was buried, and who guarded the grave for 14 years. The caretakers tried many times to evict Bobby, but they were unable to keep him away from his master’s grave. Finally, they simply gave in, and built him a shelter so he could be protected in cold weather. Kind souls brought food to the little dog. When Bobby finally died, a monument was erected to his memory.
Bobby is probably one of the better-known dogs, but there have been others who have refused to leave their humans, even in death. How many humans do you know that would do that for someone they loved?
You’ve probably also seen articles online about military or police dogs who have been beside themselves after losing their handlers. People usually move on eventually after losing a loved one. Some dogs never do.
A dog doesn’t care about your politics, or your religious beliefs, or what you post on Facebook. As long as you’re nice to a dog, the dog will be nice to you.
When you’re feeling down, your dog can be the best source of comfort. If you’re going through a rough time, a dog isn’t going to try to “fix” you or burden you with unwanted advice. He’s just going to be there for you, ready to snuggle, or play, or do whatever it takes to lift you out of the doldrums.
You may have heard this expressed in different ways, with expressions like “Your dog loves you more than he loves himself,” or “Dogs will love even the worst person,” or “You dog is the only creature that will love you without expecting to get anything back.” These statements are all true, but can seldom be said of humans.
Every so often, when I’m placing puppies out of Janice’s litters, someone will ask me how to train the dog to protect. I usually tell them that there’s no need to train at all – if you love your dog, and he loves you, he’s going to look after you.
Of course, there are exceptions – some dogs simply can’t handle conflict of any sort. But most of the time, practically any dog, of any size or breed, will look after his human.
Your dog doesn’t care that you’re not perfect. If you’re fat, your dog is still going to think that you’re the most beautiful person in the entire world. If you’re unemployed, your dog isn’t counting down the days until you find a job. If you’re struggling with mental health issues, your dog will accept you as you are.
Your dog will never pretend to be something that he isn’t. If he loves you, he’ll let you know in the most wonderful ways, with kisses and snuggles and invitations to play. If he’s upset, he might growl or whine. But he won’t pretend to emotions that he doesn’t feel.
Janice and Leroy are pretty much couch potatoes, but they do require some exercise. I take them for walks, and play with them in the yard. If not for my dogs, I think I’d be battling the “bulge” even more than I already am.
Dogs don’t hold grudges. I’d never deliberately hurt a dog, but sometimes things happen – like I’m washing dishes, don’t realize that Leroy is behind me, and I end up stepping on him. The reaction is something along the lines of “Yikes! Ow, that hurts!” and then when I feel like the worst person in the entire world, and I get down and cuddle him and stroke his ears and tell him how sorry I am, he’s all smiles and kisses. In seconds, a dog will forget and forgive any hurt that you have done to him.
That, right there, is just about all that really needs to be said. Dogs make me happy, and that’s why I love dogs.
So, Max, I hope this answers your question. I love dogs for so many reasons. It’s not that I don’t love my human family – you, Colleen and Owen – it’s just that dogs speak to me in a way that humans don’t. It’s not a better or worse love than what I feel for the people in my life. It’s just different.
I don’t think it’s abnormal to love dogs more than you love humans. I love dogs because of the characteristics that they have that are very different from those of many humans, and I’m not going to apologize for that.
Why do you love dogs? Do you love them more than you love people? Why? Leave a comment!