My twenty-year-old son asked for a dog every year since he was two. I did not grow up with dogs so I did not understand why having a dog was so important. My son begged me every year for a dog. I wonder now if life would have been different if we had adopted a dog years ago. Three years ago this beautiful girl, Molly (pictured above), joined our family. She was rescued from a shelter in North Carolina and I can’t imagine our lives without her.

Why every family needs a dog

Dogs know when you are feeling sad and they cheer you up. They are very tuned into the members of our family and Molly can tell who is sick and stays right by their side. It is amazing to see how smart she is and how intuitive she is, especially for our sons who have an auto-immune illness.

Your dog will protect your family. Dogs are all watchdogs. They will keep people away because they will bark when they hear the tiniest sound outside. You will know the minute the mailman is there and if the UPS man left a package on your doorstep. Molly alerts me when a package arrives, or the mailman drove by, or even if the neighbor is taking out the trash. It is very helpful having a dog to alert you to any changes in your neighborhood. You will feel safe having your dog by your side to protect you.

You are healthier when you have a dog, since they force you to walk them multiple times a day. Dogs keep your heart healthy because you will ultimately have to exercise a lot when you have a dog. Our dog goes on two hour long walks per day.  She also loves to play ball in the backyard and the basement. People who have dogs typically get much more exercise than those who don’t. You will also probably lose weight from all your exercise after getting a dog.

Your dog will make you laugh. Laughing is good for the soul. Your dog will do funny things, look at your funny, and sleep in funny positions. I promise, your dog will make you laugh a lot.

Your dog will help you meet your neighbors and make friends. Often when we go on a walk in our neighborhood we meet new people we did not know. We never would have met as many people in our new neighborhood if it weren’t for our friendly dog Molly. She is a great ice breaker and she pulls you over to visit with all your neighbors.

Dogs make you feel calmer and they lower your stress levels. Many people even find their blood pressure lowers while they are with their dog. Dogs are calming and you feel calm with your dog by your side. My son did not like staying home alone until we got our dog. Now he is happy to stay home with his companion. Dogs are great companions, you will never feel alone when you are with your dog. Dogs will also teach you to be relaxed and feel more zen. Dogs love to sleep and you will too after running around with your new best friend.

Dogs are not all wonderful: sometimes they chew up your favorite slipper, or ask you to take them on a walk during a snowstorm, and might even make a mess in your house. But dogs are worthwhile and they need your love. So many dogs are waiting in shelters for their forever home. You can possibly save their life as well as your own. Adopting a new dog will provide you with years of love, health and happiness.

You will also gain a new best friend for life.

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