Scientists, medical personnel, psychologists and pretty much every kind of people/animal professional all seem to agree that many people who share their lives with dogs live longer than people who don’t share their homes and hearts with dogs.

For those of you who live with dogs (and that’s probably almost everyone reading this blog) the above paragraph is a no-brainer and you’re probably thinking, “Why is she telling me this? I already know it’s true. I get more exercise because I walk with my dog. My dog helps me lower my blood pressure and relieve stress. My heart is healthier. So what’s the big deal?”

The big deal is the why. Why do people who love and live with dogs tend to live longer? Yeah, I know about the exercise, stress reducing benefits, responsibility factor, etc. but that information doesn’t answer the question. Those are just body/mind benefits. What is it about dogs that helps people live longer and healthier lives?

Here’s my answer: Dogs process everything emotionally, unlike people who tend to complicate things by analyzing and intellectualizing. When you connect with a dog on an emotional level that’s a straight-line connection unlike any other you could experience. That connection provides a positive effect on your life IF you allow it to do so because the connection is so strong it erases the negative. Some people call this connection unconditional love, but it’s more than that. It’s everything good and life-affirming. It’s an intangible and yet powerful connection that helps you live your life positively and productively. It’s a connection that’s difficult to make with another human being because there’s too much other stuff in
the way.

I’m smiling as I write this because here I am talking to you about why connecting with a dog on an emotional level can help you live longer and yet I’m using words. One of the frustrating fringe benefits of being human I guess—needing words to communicate.

Forget about the words. Let your love for your dog guide you to a longer, happier life.

P.S. The photo, taken by Jane Sobel Klonsky, shows Old Dog Haven foster Dawn Ford with her buddy Marvelous Marvin. Marvin is blind, but he sees with his heart and judging from the expression on Dawn’s face, she does too.

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