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Life’s just better with dogs

By The Mercury

Jackie Dobson

Getting a dog was the best thing that ever happened to me.

I grew up in a family that has always had dogs; they were part of the family. I always knew that I would want a dog of my own when I was old enough to have one.

My senior year of college is when Hooty, my now 3-year-old border collie mix, came into my life. From the second I brought her home, life was different. It was challenging, frustrating but more than anything it was rewarding.

I think owning a dog could benefit everyone’s life. Here are some reasons why I think they make the best pets.

The first is companionship.

I’ve moved four times since getting Hooty. She has been one of the only constant things in life. I know she will always be by my side. I don’t think I would have had the courage to make the move to Kansas if I had had to do it on my own. Knowing there is always someone to come home to is a comfort in itself.

But companionship with a dog is so much more than just having one around. It’s an unconditional love. It’s the cuddles and the eye contact. The excitement they show when you’re going on a walk together and the readiness to end your day together lying on the couch.

There is nothing that will make you feel more loved and appreciated than coming home to a wagging and wiggling dog.

Having a dog as a companion also comes with a lot of responsibility, which is the next reason I think people should have dogs.

When I was 2 years old my family got a dog. His name was Joker. Picking him out of the litter is my earliest memory. I immediately made it clear to my parents that he was my dog.

As soon as I was old enough to help them take care of him, I did everything I could. I was so excited to be able to take care of my fluffy friend. It was a great way for my parents to get me excited about being responsible at such a young age.

Taking care of something is a really good way to learn responsibility. You have to learn to put its needs before your own.

When you get a dog, being a more responsible pet owner can even make you a better person. Dogs need a lot of exercise, and there’s no better way to get them up and running than to get up and running yourself.

I found myself spending twice as much time outside and moving more after I got Hooty. I started walking her in the mornings as soon as I could after getting her. I tried to make it a routine. Well, it worked. To this day she will wake me up well before my alarm expecting to go on a walk.

I’ve become a healthier person because I want to make sure my dog stays healthy. Of course we don’t go out every day without fail, but there is always a little more motivation to get off the couch when someone else wants you to.

Another good option for exercising a dog is going to the dog park, which brings me to my final reason that dogs are great pets: the social benefits.

I just moved to Manhattan in December. Moving to a new place comes with challenges, especially when you’re going somewhere you don’t know anyone. Fairmont dog park has been my saving grace.

Since moving here and becoming a regular at the park, I have made an amazing group of friends. We all get together to walk our dogs and spend long afternoons together talking while our dogs get their energy out.

Without Hooty I don’t know that I would have moved here. I’m grateful that she gives me the courage to do things out of my comfort zone. I think dogs can give everyone a sense of comfort.

Life is just better with dogs.

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