9 Incredible Ways Dogs Improve Our Lives

In honor of today, Love Your Pet Day, we wanted to explore just some of the many ways dogs bring joy to our lives. Any dog owner will tell you, man’s best friend is a best friend to everyone they encounter. The good they do is immeasurable. Show them an extra heaping of love today!

1. Get Out of Bed, Sleepyhead!
Dogs are early risers. Therefore, dog owners are early risers—even if they don’t want to be. Think about it: you can hit snooze as many times as you want on an alarm clock. But a dog (and his bladder) will not be ignored. He’s not going to take himself for a walk, so if you have to get up, walk him, feed him breakfast, etc. At this point, you’re probably awake so you may as well start your day. Think of how unproductive you would be if your dog wasn’t around to drag you out of bed to get started with your busy day.

2. Laughter is the Best Medicine
Dogs are funny. They love to entertain and make us smile and laugh. And, once they learn what tricks we like they perform them over and over again. Dogs don’t mind looking silly or being the butt of our jokes. As long as tummy rubs follow, they’re pretty much game for anything. Which brings us to…

3. Dog Devotion
There’s nothing quite like the gaze of adoration dogs give us, even when we’re feeling at our lowest. They have an intuitive understanding when we’re upset, happy, or frustrated and they stand by us no matter what. Dogs can win over anyone with their contagious likeability and devotion.

4. They’ve Got Our Backs
You’ve probably blamed your dog for quite a lot: a vase that you broke; a homework assignment you didn’t do (the dog ate it!); a scapegoat for uncontrollable flatulence. And, let’s not forget the disappearance of vegetables we didn’t want to eat, or the neighbor we got to avoid because “the dog needs his walk, sorry!” Ah, dogs. They’re a handy excuse always at the ready.

5. Ultimate Stress Relievers
Can dogs really make us healthier? Yes! Dr. David Niven, author of 100 Simple Secrets Why Dogs Make Us Happy says, “Contact with a dog reduces our stress level nine times longer than the contact itself. You spend five minutes with your dog, and they give you 45 minutes of a healthier system.” Yoga devotees may also have noted the happy coincidence of a yoga pose called Downward Facing Dog. The position, meant to relax tense muscles, does a world of good for everyone. Just like dogs!

6. Dr. Dog at Your Service
We’re still waiting for dogs to earn their certifications into medical programs. Canine companions have worked miracles with patients, particularly those who have gone through a trauma or are going through grueling physical therapy. They can also smell certain types of cancer in people, sense when seizures are going to happen, and comfort sufferers of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Wow!

7. They Make us Smarter
Dogs may be champs for learning tricks, but they help us get smarter too. Specially trained dogs have helped children become better, more confident readers. Jane Paley, author of Hooper Finds a Family, says children don’t like to read outloud because they feel judged if they make a mistake or don’t pronounce something correctly. The worst a dog will do is yawn.

8. They Help us Find Love
Let’s face it: single people do not frequent the dog park dressed up and looking their best to impress the other dogs. They purposely plant themselves in situations where the dog is the focus so human interaction awkwardness is taken out of context. “What a cute dog! What’s his name?” See how simple that conversation started? Now, it only seems polite to introduce yourself and ask what her name is.

9. They Protect and Serve
Helping law enforcement is just one of the many ways dogs protect us every day. They can sniff out narcotics, bombs, and protect homeowners from intruders. They even work to rehabilitate prison inmates. In short, dogs are there for pretty much every area of life we need them in and for that we owe a debt of gratitude that can only be repaid through doggy biscuits—and lots of them!