dogs sitting together
Though it’s hard for me to wrap my head around the idea, I understand that there are people out there — normal, kind, friendly humans — who aren’t dog people. They might not strongly dislike dogs, but they don’t see them as desirable members of the family. How do I know? Well, I married one.

My husband was a cat guy when we first met, and though he didn’t hate dogs or anything, he had very little interest in sharing a home with one. He thought it sounded like a lot of work and responsibility, and his points were valid. Once we brought our first dog home, our lives certainly changed. Still, I don’t think either of us would’ve traded it for anything. In fact, I’m certain of that, since we’re now a two-dog family!

It took a bit of convincing to bring him over to the dog side; he had solid points: Yes, we lost the security deposit on our first apartment, because of the puppy, and, sure, planning travel requires an extra step or two. But my arguments were strong, too. So don’t think you’re a dog person? Let me tell you why you should be.

(If you’re saying, "But I’m a cat person!" — well, it turns out that as different as cats and dogs are, the reasons we love them are awfully similar.)

Dogs Are Goofy

You know the commercials that show puppies running full speed toward a food bowl, skittering around corners, tripping over their own feet and eventually crashing into the bowl before burying their faces in kibble as they eat with more enthusiasm than most of us could muster for basically anything? That level of hilarity isn’t exaggerated… and it really never stops.

Dog sleeping upside down
My oldest dog, a Lab mix named Rudi, rarely greets anyone at the door without a toy in her mouth. On the off chance that she forgets to pick up a toy before someone walks in, she’ll sprint to grab it, then come back and show it off, because, of course, her new friends want to see her toys, right? And the excitement goes on day and night: Hollie, our Hound mix, often sleeps in what I call the "Snoopy dance pose," which always makes me giggle.

When you add in some of the other silly things dogs do — getting scared by their own toots, letting the small cat reign over them and, of course, the head tilt — it’s basically impossible not to laugh. A lot.

Dogs Are Motivational

Don’t feel like getting out of bed or going outside today, even though you know you really should? Most dogs will be more than happy to provide you with some motivation. Some breeds require more exercise than others, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a dog of any breed who doesn’t get excited to head out the door with you, even if it’s just for a five-minute constitutional after dinner.

Health permitting, many dogs will also be more than happy to accompany you on a run — even the really early morning ones. And let me tell you, you can’t ask for a more enthusiastic (or less judgmental) running partner than a dog.

Dogs Are in Tune

There are times when, I swear, my dogs know how I feel about something before I even have time to process it. They’re the first to celebrate in their own goofy, playful way when I’m excited (running around, finding toys, barking joyfully), and when I’m down, I’m never without a heavy head on my lap or a furry body sleeping on (not near — always on) my feet. For as much energy as they both have, my dogs just seem to know when I need to do nothing but lie in one place and snuggle with them.

And it’s not just me they’re in tune with: My dogs have an uncanny sense when it comes to knowing when anyone — friends, family, neighbors — is a bit fragile and needs some gentle love, and they’re constantly happy to share their cuddles with people who need it. (Obviously, though, we always supervise the dogs when they are around children — even the most well-mannered, loving pets shouldn’t be left on their own with kids.)

Dogs Are Grateful, and They Never Judge

Dog carrying toy
You know what makes my dogs pretty much the happiest canines in the world? Getting to lick a smidge of peanut butter off my fingers. Day made, just like that. For a dog, the most incredibly simple gestures of kindness seem to mean the world to them. Because of this, having a dog around is a constant reminder to be thankful for the little things.

And a dog will help you remember what’s big and what’s little. Dog lovers often talk about the unconditional love they get from their canines and for good reason. Your dog doesn’t care if you lost your job, skipped a workout, were a jerk to your sister, got a terrible haircut or gained a few pounds. She doesn’t care if you repeat your stories over and over, or even if you complain about the same dumb thing every day. As long as she can be with you (and, you know, you keep the meaty treats and kibble flowing), she’ll be your very best friend. Always.

Dogs Are Great Scapegoats

Because your dog loves you so much, she’s happy to take the blame for certain things. When it comes to finding someone to point a finger at for certain uncivilized smells, for example, there’s nothing like a dog. You can blame your dog all day for the results of your dicey breakfast burrito, and she won’t care. (Of course, chances are decent that she’ll rightfully earn her share of the blame now and again, too, but you kind of owe her that, right?)

Your dog can also be the perfect polite excuse for things you would rather not do. Find yourself stuck at a party that you desperately want to leave? Nobody can really argue with you when you say you’ve got to get home to feed the hounds. Same thing when you’re invited to, say, your ex’s out-of-town engagement party — if you don’t have a dog sitter, you just can’t make it, even though, of course, you’d love to be there.

Dogs Are Great at Making Friends

Admit it: Making friends as an adult isn’t always the easiest thing to do. You know what? It’s scads easier when you’ve got a dog in tow. People who might normally pass right by you will often stop to pet your dog, giving you an opportunity to say hello and introduce your dog — and yourself. I know the majority of my neighbors, not because I delivered handmade brownies to their doors, but because they either came up to pet my dogs or because I walked over to play with theirs.

Dogs also create other social opportunities — there are all kinds of dog meet-ups, classes, yappy hours and more. Not only does having a dog get you in the door, but it’s an automatic conversation starter — you don’t have to feign interest in someone’s shoes or the weather when you can dive right into talking about your shared canine interests!

Dogs Live in the Moment

Dog running in field
It doesn’t take a dog long to shake things off. If she trips over her feet and rolls in the dirt while chasing a ball, she gets back up, grabs that ball and has the best day ever. When a dog gets caught being naughty, she might look worried for a moment, but the second you show you’ve forgiven her, she’s forgotten anything ever happened.

Dogs also have a remarkable ability to bounce back from scary things, the kind that take people longer to get over. My dog, Rudi, has seizures; they’re terrifying for us and certainly not very pleasant for her, but just moments after every single one, she’s ready to give me kisses and go play. I might still be shaken, but the moment she has her legs under her again, she’s happy as a clam.

And dogs delight in life right to the very end. If you’ve ever had the honor of caring for a dog in her final days, you know she finds joy in all moments, always, up until that last breath, as long as she has you. And maybe some treats, too.

The responsibility of dog ownership shouldn’t be entered into lightly, but it shouldn’t be dismissed lightly either. Sharing your life (and your home) with a dog might be a bit challenging on occasion, but isn’t that how the very best things in life tend to work?

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