Today I’m going to talk about Hank and the bond we have. (Much more than Hank, but he’s my boy so he takes the spotlight here.) You’ve probably heard the saying that we live happier lives when we have pets. I can attest to that being true, but I think it’s in a lot of ways we don’t often realize. Bonding with your dog can improve many aspects of your life. Just how much of an impact does your pet really have on your well being?
Intelligent & Cute
I’ve been connected with animals since I was born, but the empty feeling that I have when I’m not around animals is immense. Through the many years of depression and anxiety that I have forged through, I owe a lot of that to animals. I have had many cats over the years same as dogs, but I will always come back to dogs. Their level of understanding and consciousness is truly amazing. You begin to realize that the more you interact with them, the more they can interact with you. They begin to learn your patterns and mold to how you live life.
Take Hank for example, when I refer to him as a “mini” human, I am being literal. He has filled the void where other people often cannot. Not everyone in life is blessed with the company of others unfortunately. He has learned so many phrases just by being exposed to more verbal communication. By talking to him and holding conversations in a sense, he learned definitions of things. Will dogs be doing algebra for you? Probably not! But they are capable of learning hundreds of phrases and words, if not more. They become more than a pet, the more you feed their intelligence.
There is no denying the companionship a dog can offer. Granted a lot of that is how you raise them! If you never teach your dog to cuddle on the pillow next to you in bed, chances are they won’t. Hank was sleeping under my arm at 6 weeks old. I do not believe in crate training since it is too traumatizing for puppies. They are like infants at that stage and fear being alone. That can be an emotionally scarring situation on a puppy. Instead, I trained him (as my other dogs as well) through routine and giving him small areas to stay in if I wasn’t around. He grew up knowing that my bed, was his bed. We share the bed now that he’s an adult, and he knows which side mine is! He will often have his head up on the spare pillow and be sprawled out behind me. Come the 6:00am morning alarm, we both look at each other sleepily and know it’s time to get up. I use the phrase “time to get up” to let him know we’re not sleeping in today.
We slowly make our way to the usual morning routine, which he knows very well. As I’m ready to leave for work, I will give him a cookie (blue dog bakery) and a kiss on the head. I let him know I will see him after work and that his dad loves him a lot. And that is how we start our day. I could not imagine NOT having him. I know he is waiting for me at home after work, and just as excited as always. We begin our evening routine of a shower and dinner before getting settled in for Hulu or gaming. His blanket beside my desk is always occupied by his loud snores that could convince you there was a wild boar in the room.
I had been having stomach issues recently, so I was inevitably stationed in the bathroom. Several days of stomach pains which finally came to an end. During that time though, Hank managed to squeeze himself in the bathroom beside me. I wondered how he wasn’t bored, heck I was bored in there. But he sat there with his usual content look, staring at me between trying to lick me to death. If I left the bathroom, he would follow, if I returned to the bathroom, so did he. I don’t know too many people willing to do that for another person haha. Dogs just have such an immeasurable amount of love and compassion to give.
The Good, The Bad Days
This is where dogs begin to seem like children. They have all these good qualities, but they are flawed creatures same as us. They forgive our mistakes, as we should forgive theirs. Hank has had plenty of off days, haven’t we all? The times where you come home and realize he got into 6 rolls of dog poop bags, all while leaving them shredded across the house. Or when you finish making dinner and leave the kitchen for a moment, only to return and find Hank stole something off your plate. These things happen. I might steal food off his plate if I was into dog kibble! But he shares everything so I wouldn’t have to steal it haha. There have been times where he thought it was fun to tip his food bowls. I found a solution to that with weighted bowls which have been a life saver (dog bowls) he is not able to flip them over anymore. But that was always a challenge before I got the new bowls. Even with full water and food, he would run up to them and start using his paw to make it rock until it went over.
Sweet Dreams Are Made of… Puke?
If you’ve ever had a dog sleep in bed regularly, I’m willing to bed you’re no stranger to puke! Dogs get sick sometimes, and it tends to be at night. You will be sound asleep, in a good dream and hear that awful puking sound. Only to wake up to a pile of throw-up on your pillow next to your head. These things happen, I would never love Hank any less for it. I invested in a dog-proof blanket to help in those situations though. Large soft blankets that cover the entire bed, but are also water proof! I also have one on my couch for him as well. You can never be too careful. Accidents can happen.
At the End of the Day…
Dogs are awesome, there’s no doubt about that. They are a lot of responsibility and commitment, same as a person. But they are worth their weight in gold. Dogs will love you no matter what. They can’t fight your demons for you, but their presence will sure as heck make a difference. We are all creatures craving connections. Our connection to animals is much like that of the one we have with other humans. That kind of bond is truly a gift, one I continue to appreciate and respect.