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Why do dogs make us happy? There are at least 5 reasons

I got my first dog at age 47.  My husband had wanted one for years - I said no, we had enough to do. Then our youngest son asked for a dog and just like that I said yes! 


Our first wonderful pup left us after 15 years, and our current dog - well, he’s just the best good boy around.  What’s better than walking into the house and having this adorable creature slobber all over from excitement at the mere sight - ok, smell - of me?  

Dogs make us happy!

(This is our dog, Rashi, just before bath time.)


So why do dogs make us happy?  Turns out there’s science to support it.  Of course there is. Here’s 5 reasons (apparently people like lists):


  1. They improve your mood - studies show they help lessen depression and anxiety - the human-animal bond bypasses intellect and goes straight to the heart and emotions.

  2. Dogs make you feel loved - just like crying and laughing, petting and cuddling dogs increase oxytocin - the love hormone that calms our nerves, relaxes us and just makes us feel good all over.

  3. Dogs lower your stress - Not only does petting dogs increase oxytocin, but it also decreases cortisol, the stress hormone.  In fact workplace studies show that bringing your dog to work lowers stress from challenging assignments, and increases positive social interactions.

  4. Dogs help you be social - there’s no greater conversation starter with another person than when your dogs are busy checking out each other’s behinds while on a walk.  

  5.  Dogs keep you healthy and fit - you have to walk them, take care of them, play with them which keeps us moving which is always a good thing, especially for those with couch potato tendencies.  


So the other night there was an intense thunderstorm.  After a crazy loud clap of thunder, our dog leaped from the floor onto my lap in one quick motion. For the next 30 minutes, I hugged and comforted this poor pooch who was shaking from head to paws. 


That was pure love - for both of us.  And for anyone who’s had to say a sorrowful goodbye to a beloved dog, well that’s just heartbreaking, the price of deep emotion. 


But then again, the crying just might turn to laughter as you reminisce about all the great times you had together.   


Ok, I know there’s people out there who like cats.  I don’t know why but I’ll get to you another time.  


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