I love dogs. I spend at least three hours a day (most likely more) reading about them, looking at them on the internet, and thinking about them. To many, this seems like obsession. My boyfriend teases me for shutting down when I see a cute dog on the street. Everyone asks why I don't have one.
Well, as much as I would love one right now, the truth is I'm not obsessed. An obsessed person would not realize they can't provide a life that is worthy of a dog at the moment. I'm here to make a case that everyone should be "obsessed" with dogs, and here's why:
The only reason dogs are the way they are today, is because of us. They came to us when we were primitive beings and helped us scour for food; they have helped the Greeks and Romans soldiers in battle just as they do today. Every single trait in dogs has been manifested by humans; if they are aggressive, it is our fault, not theirs; if they are loving it is because we have taught them to be loving.
Dogs are the tailored animal; reared and selected and even genetically modified to our will, sometimes to their detriment. But they don't know that, all they know of is love.
If you want to know what it is like to live a happy life, live like a dog. A dog goes from moment to moment, taking pleasure in all the little nuances and happenstances that they come across. When a dog is happy their joy is unadulterated; they do not care if they laugh too loud or love too much, whereas human beings hang on to their "I love you's" and words of comfort and hoard them like gold, not realizing love only grows when it is shared. We guard our happiness because we fear others will scorn it; and it shows in the dogs we rear when they guard their toys.
Dogs have seen me through many difficult moments, and not all have liked me. I try not to take it too personally, but dogs have their own unique personalities like we do, and not everyone likes me. Dogs have never judged me for crying, or for being angry, or for being scared. From the tiniest of puppies that have chewed my clothing to bits to the sickest and the elderly ones that I have had to say goodbye to, they have all just been. They let me, be.
So see a Dog as more than just a pet, more than an animal that depends on food and shelter from you. We tamed dogs, and as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said in "The Little Prince", you are responsible for the things you tame. If you have the honor and privilege of seeing your dog out of life, do it. We live in a society where we hide the elderly away because it's much easier than to have to think and care about them. We turn our faces away from the homeless, the sick and the disabled.
Turn back around, face them. You will feel much braver with a dog by your side.