A momentous occasion happened this week. Gracie, the fur-baby-love-of-my-life celebrated a birthday; the big 13. Gracie first came into my life when I was 20, and she was just a pup. I knew it the moment I saw her that we were destined to be together.
She was sitting in a pen with all of her brothers and sisters; all of whom were wrestling and biting one another, rolling over and playing. Gracie, on the other hand, was sitting in a corner by herself, shaking (something she still does to this day when she gets overly anxious; a trait we both share).
The way her little brown eyes stared up at me made me know that she and I were one in the same. We both suffer terrible anxiety, we’re both super cute but can also be super annoying, we both go ape-ship over some popcorn, and we’re both really amazing cuddlers.
They say that your true best friend in life is a dog, and they (whoever they may be) are absolutely 1000% correct. Gracie has been the most incredible friend to me for thirteen years. She has stayed by my side when I have been sick, and when I have experienced loss and heartbreak. She has jumped for joy during happy times, and has seen me at my lowest. This little girl has been the biggest blessing, and I am so thankful to call her mine.
(Even though some days all she likes to do is bark until it drives me absolutely bonkers, I still love her with all of my heart and soul). <- Like now. As I’m writing this.
If you have never experienced true puppy love, then I encourage you to consider going out and rescuing or finding a pup of your own. If you need further convincing, continue reading.
Ten Reasons Everyone Needs a Dog
A dog CAN and WILL be your very best friend
Dogs quickly become our best friends, I firmly believe this. They don’t use or manipulate, they don’t only call you when it’s convenient for them. They never steal your significant other. They are always there to listen and love you when you need it, even when you’re wrong. And no matter what, they will always have your back. And then, when you have babies, they’ll also love your babies just as fiercely as they love you.
A dog is a true companion, and with one in your life, you’ll never be lonely. Whether you’re married or single, having a dog waiting for you to come home every day is one of the absolute best; the look on their face when you come walking through the door is enough to cheer up even the saddest person on the loneliest of days. Everyone deserves to feel that sense of “I’ve been missed!” when they come walking through the door and is greeted by their dog. That’s true love.
You won’t need to vacuum as often
One of the highlights of having a dog is they help clean up spills. Just the other day, Coop knocked over his entire bowl of popcorn right on our living room carpet. But no worries.. Gracie was on that. She cleaned up every single crumb and then some, and saved me the hassle of having to do it myself. Thanks, Grace.
Dogs teach us unconditional love
You know that Florida Georgia Line song, God, Your Mama, and Me? The only thing missing is “and your dog.” There is no love like that of and from a dog. They love us no matter what. They don’t care what we look like, how successful we are, what our hobbies include, how we dress.. none of it. They love us in spite of all our flaws, and our failures. They couldn’t care less. They love US. No matter what.
Dogs help us stay active
Having a dog increases your chances of getting up and moving more often. Someone has to take that adorable, active little dog for a walk, right? And they’re also going to want to play a riveting round of fetch.. so who is expected to throw that frisbee? Us. Dogs help us to become more active, which is good for not only their health, but ours.
Dogs protect us
If we treat our dogs well, they’re going to treat us well in return. They will always have our back, and will go at any length to keep predators away. Gracie will go all tough-dog on anyone or anything that happens to get too close to our house. She’s especially protective of me, and Cooper. If Chad is home with her alone, she minds her p’s and q’s. If it’s just me and her? Forget about it. She’ll be baring her teeth and growling every chance she gets to make sure that dangerous threats stay far away.
Dogs give us a sense of confidence, purpose, and responsibility
Having a dog is much like having a baby (with a few slight differences). When someone is relying on you for basically everything, you better be on your game. All. The. Time. You’ve gotta be feeding this dog-baby, you’ve gotta be letting him or her outside. You have to be taking them to the groomers, and the vet, and keeping them healthy. It’s a lot of work. But it’s also incredible. This new companion will trust you and look to you for everything. And it’s a pretty special feeling.
Dogs improve our health
So the really amazing thing is that dogs can also play a role in keeping us healthy. There have been all sorts of incredible stories about dogs being able to sniff out certain cancers (and ultimately alerting their owners that something isn’t right), they can lower our stress levels, lower our blood pressure, boost our immune systems, and even help defend us against developing allergies. I still remember when Gracie knew I was pregnant before I did. She would stare intently at my stomach and not let a soul near me, not even Chad. She’d curl up every single night of my pregnancy right next to my belly, just like she was keeping watch. Dogs = amazing. Go get yourself one.
Dogs make us laugh
Dogs are incredibly cute. Who else is guilty of scrolling through too many puppy photos or videos on their social media feeds? Come on, I can’t be the only one. They’re adorable, and they’re funny, and they give the best kisses.
Dogs are the best cuddlers
Hello. This needs no explanation.
Natasha Funderburk is a wife, #boymom, NASM-Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Consultant, and ACE-Behavior Change Specialist. When not watching her son play baseball, she can be found on various writing platforms, coaching her clients to live their best lives, drinking all the coffee, and conducting living-room dance parties.