Why does my dog sometimes make me happier than people do?

I think you all know what I am talking about. That wagging tail, the sloppy dog kisses, running to meet you at the door. Who else acts like the world has only just started spinning again when you walk in? Who possesses a level of sheer unadulterated enthusiasm for your very existence? I mean c’mon, who doesn’t love that attention? I know for myself that, even if I have had the shittiest human day ever, it all melts away when those furry critters come running. I can’t wait to scoop them up and love on ’em to my heart’s content. And, on top of that, they don’t push me away like my kids do at times. It’s a win win.

I have to confess something else as well. I find myself making more allowances and excuses for my dogs than I would ordinarily do for any human. Did you have an accident? That must be our fault for not letting you out on time. Did you chew up my favorite socks? That must be because I didn’t have a toy available for you. The list goes on and on. But why I ask you? I expect most humans to tow that line with the highest of standards to live by and they better not disappoint or they are going to hear it from me almost without exception! Is it because the dogs’ furry faces are that much cuter? Is it because my expectations for them are inherently low? Or, is it because no dog has ever disappointed me like humans have? Maybe its a little bit of all three.

I saw the funniest meme the other day. It addresses the difference in goodbye salutations a woman says to her dog versus her spouse. To the dog, she says Goodbye! I’ll miss you! We will play when I get home! Make sure daddy lets you out when I am gone! To her spouse she merely says Bye! and she’s out the door. Now, I tend to think I am pretty fair in my exit greetings to my spouse and my pets, but I have to confess that I am guilty of this too. Even though I have given my husband a quick peck on the cheek already and that’s the end of it, I am trying to pet or hug the dogs one last time or giving them one last treat and promising to be back soon. It’s as if I have made the assumption that they are going to miss me ten times more so I have to reassure them. It’s ridiculous I know, but I can’t seem to help myself. I bet you’ve done it too, if you’re being honest.

Dr. Katz

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