Praising your dog and giving him treats does a lot for his self esteem. Can you imagine perfectly performing a trick and being gifted with a treat? Every time? That would be amazing!
Unfortunately for humans our emotions aren’t so easily swayed. Sure, we operate on a basic system of rewards as well:
- We work, we get paid
- We eat, we get full
- We exercise, we get healthy
- We watch Old Yeller, we get sad
But the human mind isn’t so cut and dry. Human beings’ self awareness means we’re constantly considering elements that have nothing to do with rewards. How long will we live? Why do I feel this way? Does life get any easier?
Now, the bulk of this conversation is just slightly too vast for your friendly neighbourhood dog blogger, but one thing we do know is that our pets go a long way toward improving our daily mental condition.
How, you ask?
1. They Make Us Feel Useful
Let’s start with the positive aspects of the human-pet relationship. We all want to feel useful in life – useful to our kids, useful at our jobs and useful to the world. Sometimes it just isn’t accurate though.
Except when it comes to our pets.
We feed our pets. We shelter our pets. We share a love with our pets that’s often stronger than the love we share with other people!
And for that, our pets are eternally grateful.
2. They Treat Us The Same When We’re Sick
There comes a time in everyone’s life when the ol’ clock starts to tick and we realize we’re getting older. Often it’s the same time things start to go wrong and we come down with different illnesses.
It’s why pet therapy is a growing practice in hospitals all over the world.
Why? Because pets don’t care if we’re sick. All they need is love and they’ll return the affection tenfold, enough to help us forget our problems if only for a moment.
3. They Can Be Jerks, Too
Just wait, hear me out.
When was the last time watching the news put you in a better mood? The petty crimes, the arrogance, the inconsiderate people out there – it’s frustrating to say the least.
Well, you know what? Dogs can be jerks, too. Dogs will tear up the couch just because. Dogs will go to the bathroom on the floor while staring you straight in the eyes.
But not all dogs. Heroes exist in the canine world just the same as they exist in the human world.
Plus, the jerk dogs? They can be trained to grow out of this jerk-tastic behaviour.
That gives me hope that humans can be trained as well. And hopeful is a powerful mental state in which to be.
4. They’re Family
Dogs are so much more than domesticated beasts trained to fetch sticks and balls. Dogs have a natural part to play in the overall family dynamic. When they arrive we celebrate. When they die we mourn.
The lifespan of a pet is an accelerated look at our own mortality. Sharing your home with a pet attaches us to reality, it reminds we’re human beings who will grow, learn and, if we have the desire, become anything we want to be.
Dogs are happy every day and all they really need is a comfy bed and a loving home.
And truthfully, do humans really require much more than that to find that same state of contentment?
Go hug your dog everybody.