Why own dogs?

Recently I came across this tweet asking for reasons why we do, or should, own dogs. The tweet asks for one logical reason to have a dog, and even though many were offered, the original poster seemed unwilling to accept many of them as logical reasons for quite some time. So with that in mind I thought I’d compile a list of reasons for having dogs and instead of giving just my perspective, I decided to get the perspective of different dog owners. Here’s a collection of their accounts. Some are quite long but they are all wonderful and I’m grateful to everyone who contributed. Thank you.

This is @carrieboudreaux’s account:

I’ve always been a “dog person”. I get why some may not like dogs. They’re needy, can be destructive, even aggressive at times. But I see these traits as the humans problem not the dogs.
I read the interactions yesterday. I can agree that taking a wild animal and systematically breeding it for our own purpose is probably not the most humane thing to do. However…what’s done is done. These animals have been domesticated for thousands of years, not just to work for us, but to protect us and love us. They now rely on us for food, water, shelter, healthcare, ….and love.
We created this problem so it is our responsibility. There are shelters who have to euthanize dogs daily because of the lack of homes. Dogs who are “set free” are hit by cars, shot at, starve, suffer from disease, etc. I’ve never seen a healthy looking “free dog”.
Both of my labs are adopted. One came in to the shelter with mange and was going to be put down soon. The other was a stray living on a farm with little human interaction. It’s safe to say I love them like my family. Jojo follows me around everywhere I go. Boudreaux likes to be able to see me but mostly he does his own thing. Seeing them run around in a creek, chase after squirrels, gobble down a treat, play with their toys, etc gives me more joy than most in my life. When I get home from work they are just as happy to see me as I am to see them. I don’t look at them as an alternative to human interaction but as a bonus. They are my friends and I take care of them because I love them and I want them to be happy.
I so not see how it is illogical to have a dog unless you have one and don’t want one. Then yes, it is illogical for you to have a dog. But for me? No, makes perfect sense.
One small anecdote… I lived with my parents for a year and a half while I was saving up to buy my home. My grandmother also lives there. Both her and my father have told me that they miss me living there…but they REALLY miss the dogs! Lol! They bring so much joy into people’s lives and in return they are also (hopefully) loved and well cared for.
I’ll always “own” dogs.

And here is @OxfordComma____’s reasons for having his dogs:

Dogs have always been a part of my family. Since I was an infant my family always owned a dog (or more than one). Every dog that my family had was also a different breed, so I have been able to experience a broad range of behaviours, grooming needs, and energy levels. The breeds I grew up with include: Keeshond, Collie, Newfoundland, Rottweiler, and Pointer.

As an infant/toddler, my family owner the first three breeds listed above. As I was at a young age, I was not really close to them, but I remember them all. All three were older dogs and eventually had to be put to sleep. During my early grade school years we owned a Rottweiler named Dolly. She was pretty mellow for her breed (not the stereotypical aggressive reputation that often precedes this breed), but she was still a good watch dog. Dolly was the first “real family dog” that I felt a connection to growing up. We owned Dolly for 9 years. Dolly developed severe hip problems and arthritis and we had to put her down. This was a sad time for my family, and especially for me, as she was the dog of my childhood.

My family waited awhile before getting another dog after Dolly. We decided to adopt a dog from a pet shelter. She is the dog my parents still currently own. Her name is Shannon. She is a Pointer mix of some kind. Upon adopting her she was quite timid. We think that she had been abused by a previous owner. But she quickly grew fond of our family and became quite energetic and protective. Of the dogs that were a part of my family, Shannon was the one I was closest to (and still am despite not living at home anymore). She is 9 years old now and not as energetic as she once was. But she still brings my family as much joy and love as she always has. When the day comes that Shannon has lived her life to its end, I know that it will be extremely difficult for my parents (and me as well). Shannon became a family member (as all of our dogs essentially were). Although we adopted her, she, even more so, adopted us. She is a member of our family, just like my siblings, my parents, etc. She loves us even more so, I think, than we love her. And that’s why, I would have to say, that my wife, Heather, and I chose to own dogs when we became homeowners.

Heather and I consider ourselves parents to our two dogs (and them our kids). Fiona is our black Labrador Retriever (who we adopted as a stray) and Flynn is our German Shorthair Pointer (who was a gift from Heather’s parents). Both are young and full of energy and we look forward to spending the next several years of our lives with them.

Dogs are the only creatures (in my personal experience) that love their masters more than anything else in their lives. Upon returning home, no matter how long being gone, our dogs are ecstatic to see us. They are able to make any day, even the bleakest of days, a better one. Our dogs show us more love, happiness, and compassion than almost any human possibly could (which is why we often say that we love our dogs more than people). I only hope that I am able to show them as much love and care as they do me. Heather and I will be dog owners for the rest of our lives because of the love, the companionship, and the energy that dogs bring with them. Any dog that we currently have or will have in the future will always be considered a member of the family.

This is @Cindy_b09’s take on the subject:

I’ve always had dogs in my life, Couldn’t imagine not. My earliest memory(2-3 yrs old)  is of Mikey, he was a babysitter for my brother & I when we’d go play outside, never letting us get to far away from home or into too much trouble, he’d sleep with us at night, keeping us warm & protected. We had others through my childhood, never any “bad” ones though, we were taught to respect their boundaries & comfort. I had a Doberman, Sonny, that watched over Jennifer from birth, he’d sit patiently at the corner of her blanket & gently nudge her bottom to help her when she was learning to crawl, they were the best of friends, a 100 lb dog that was a little girls best friend until his last day. I’ve since owned chihuahuas, not known for being the calmest or most child friendly breed, but I have to say, Toad has been the best “big brother” to Emily, from the day she came home from hospital, he has been kind & loving to her, even now, when she tries to pick him up, pulls on his skin & ears, he never flinches. Not to sound like Caesar Milan, but there is a pack order that has been established, from day one. She is also learning this, it’s about mutual respect & love.

And this is comes courtesy of Jennifer, Cindy’s daughter:

I own dogs because theyre most times a lot better than people, they can have diverse personalities ans just like people if you treat them right theyll treat you with the same love and respect. I grew up with a blackmouth cur who was absolutely the sweetest dog ive ever met, shes about as old as i am if not older(im 17) and shes been my best friend, and now my younger cousins best friend without falter. She was basically a nanny, always following us around and showing concern if we ever were in trouble, always coming to us when we were hurt and kissing the booboos away. The only person shes ever been hostile to has been either strangers, in which she barks at but has never bit, or my older cousin who is really mean to her. My dog that i have now is somewhat of a mut, as my dad found her at his work, we dont know what she is, but shes a total sweetheart. Shes a bit skittish because she was abused at my dads work by a fellow employee, (dont worry he was talked to about this) and so shes a bit skittish but has never bit anyone, nor has she shown any violent tendancies other than being too playful and not knowing how large she is, im not kidding she trys to crawl up in your lap if youre sitting. My aunt also has a pit bull, which i would like to take the time now to say that again, its the way you raise or treat a dog that determines how theyll react to people. The pit bull my aunt has is a very sweet, eccentric dog. Hes also very protective of his family and would never hurt any of us, as ive wrestled and played with him many times. Basically, dogs are such amazing and great animals, and like people you have to treat them with love and respect and theyll return that to you, if you dont then obviously youre either going to get hurt, the dog hurt, or someone else.

Here’s a quick explanation from @SlagOffTwits:

I’ve had dogs my pretty much my whole life. They are unconditional pals, make me smile, force me to interact and exercise, keep me from excessive drinking, and help maintain mental and physical well being.

Now here’s a piece I was really excited for, courtesy of @TheGingaNinja83 a wonderfully kind and loving woman:

Mahatma Gandhi once said “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
This quote holds very true to myself, especially when it comes to certain members of our family, our dogs.
Living on a farm, I grew up with dogs. There isn’t really a moment that I can think of that didn’t include a furry companion by my side
As I became an adult and started a family of my own, it was only natural to me to seek out a loving pup to add to our already growing crew.
Daisy was the first we added to our family, a beautiful Lab/Pyrenees cross who was born on a local farm here in Alberta. We brought this sweet girl
home and watched her change from a playful pup to a beautiful adult. Don’t get me wrong, there were days when I wanted to pull my hair out due to regular
puppy behaviors such as chewing and digging, but over time we worked through this and now she is the thriving “queen” of the household.
When Daisy was around 1 year, we were at a BBQ held by one of our good friends. At this particular event, I met a lady who had a small puppy with her that she
“fostered” through a local dog rescue. I was immediately curious by this as I knew absolutely nothing of fostering puppies. When I went home that evening, I did some research online and signed up to be a “foster mom”
Almost immediately I received a call to take in a few orphaned 5 week old puppies, I was about to get a crash course into the world of fostering
I remember these sibling puppies coming into my care, they were so tiny and vulnerable and would likely not survive in the wild without their mother. The dogs we receive come
from local reservations, not the ideal environment for these pooches. Many of these dogs are wild, which continue to breed and over-populate. Eventually the strong will pack up and the weak will likely die off due to starvation or the elements.
Fast forward to the present, we found homes for these particular puppies as well as countless more ( I honestly couldn’t give you a number, as soon as one foster found a home we had another one waiting for its spot) Overtime we began taking in medical cases (broken bones, amputations, malnourished)
People always ask me, “Why?”
Clearly, we have 4 children and now two dogs of our own ( by this time we “foster failed” meaning we adopted one of the pups who came to our home)
How could we possibly have time and why would we even want to help?
I am sure dog owners would agree when you look into the loving eyes of your best friend that there really is no other option
We do what we do because if we don’t, who will?
It’s really quite simple. There is no greater feeling then giving a new family their very own best friend. A loyal, loving companion to join them on their own personal journeys in life.

This is the amazing @ErinAtlas’ reason for having her dog:

I wanted my family to have a dog because I had a dog growing up and I wanted to give my kids the same joy and love that I knew came with having a big hearted, furry friend in the family.  I specifically wanted a Great Dane because I thought they were so gentle and majestic and regal. I thought a Great Dane would serve as not only a companion but also as an intimidating guard dog.  Dagny is nothing that I imagined a Great Dane or dog should be but I love her more for it.  She can crack drywall by turning around in a small hallway or wagging her tail, she trips and falls going up and down the stairs, she thinks she can not only fit on anyone’s lap but that everyone wants her in their lap. She is also fearful of other dogs and terrified of small animals.  So, she is not exactly what I expected her to be but she is everything my family needed a dog to be and more.

I had planned on adding my own reasons for having a dog but my reasons have already been covered by the wonderful contributions above, and honestly I couldn’t write them any better myself. So instead I’ll just finishes with this, a contribution from a man who has worked for years as a professional animal care giver.

@_Mr_Merrick has this to say:

I’m a professional animal person. I have been one for 23 years and counting. I’ve trained animals from Kinkajous to Elephants, and quite a few between.
That being said, dogs are not for everyone.
Let me explain.
When you bring an animal into your family, there is a hierarchy that is already in place. The pack exists. The dog is the junior member, but like all pack animals, looks to find their niche. Their behavior varies wildly from breed to breed.
Some are needy.
Some are independent.
Some are highly energetic.
Some are aggressive.
These traits came from us. We (humans) have bred these traits depending on our desires for the ideal canine companion.
GMOs, anyone?
There are tons of fortunate dog owners out there, and an equal amount of fortunate dogs.
We have learned some tolerance.
Some people, however, treat dogs as props or accessories.
That’s wrong.
They need time from you. They need love from you.
They need interaction from you.
Do you want a great dog?
It takes work. Lots.
If you’re not willing to put the work in, please, do me a favor.
Don’t bring a dog into your family.
I am @_Mr_Merrick , and I approve this message.

I’d like to thank everyone who wrote for this piece, and I’d recommend(if you’re not already doing so) that you follow them on twitter. They’re all wonderful people.

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One response to “Why own dogs?

  1. Pingback: 15 Facts About Dogs ( that will leave you breathless) - Small Dogs "Like" Freedom

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