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For many people, myself included, dogs are more than just a pet. They are a valuable part of many families and as the saying goes, truly, “man’s best friend” for many individuals. Whether it be a 10-pound Chihuahua or a 130-pound Great Dane, all dogs can make great companions and serve special purposes, especially when people are appropriately matched with certain traits associated with particular breeds. In general, I find that most dogs remain loyal, protect us, and have unique personalities that bring joy to human lives all over the world. Here are just a few reasons why dogs rule and why I am fond of them.

They are always happy to see you.

Sometimes it feels like your pooch is always patiently waiting for your return after you leave, whether it be for weeks at a time or just for a few hours. The pure look of anticipation and excitement that a dog displays when they see you are sure to put a smile on anyone’s face. Tails wagging, yelps of happiness, barks, and slobber filled kisses make you feel like the most important person alive.

They love you unconditionally.  

Dogs don’t necessarily remember when you yelled at them for chewing up your shoe the day before. No matter what mood you are in, they will show unconditional love and affection. They are excellent listeners, they don’t hold grudges, they don’t judge, they don’t discriminate, and they remain by your side no matter what. According to Victoria Schade, a certified dog trainer, dogs can even read our facial expressions. Ya ever have your dog come to find you when you are not feeling well? They know.

They encourage physical activity.

While it is often overlooked, daily exercise is required for almost all dog breeds to stay healthy. It allows them to get rid of built-up energy and can help correct bad behaviors caused out of boredom or anxiety. Because dogs need to live an active lifestyle, they inherently encourage you to be physically active as well. There are many ways to lead an active lifestyle with your dog; such as going for a run or hike, but even just routine strolls around the neighborhood are great both physically and mentally for both dogs and their handlers.

They keep you alive longer.

According to studies, dog ownership plays a significant role in the health and life expectancy of an adult, and especially adults who are living alone. Singles with dogs were 36 percent less likely to be at risk for cardiovascular disease or death.  This is probably because individuals with dogs are more likely to exercise frequently. Owning a dog has also been linked to lower levels of stress, and even a decrease in asthma rates in children. There is a reason why so many dogs serve in emotional support roles. One furry dog hug can easily provide love and comfort to lift spirits of those in need.

I could go on and on, but for now, hopefully, your dogless appetite is piqued! Personally, I love animals and remain particularly fond of dogs as I view them as highly intelligent, intuitive animals who I enjoy spending time with.