How A Dog Has Improved My Life

Almost three months ago, we welcomed a twelve pound ball of fluff into our home. Since then, he's tipped the scales at around forty or so pounds, and continues to steadily grow. Eventually he'll be somewhere around a hundred pounds. He's a little bear of attention-seeking neediness, and his weird antics are constantly cracking us up. These are all things we had foreseen. We knew he'd be big, and sweet, and funny. We'd met many berners before. But it was the things we didn't foresee that have been the greatest blessing and improved our well-being in so many areas of our life. Here's how he's done it...

1. Got us moving

Seems obvious (dogs need exercise) but when everyone in your house has a desk job, and you're mentally exhausted at the end of a day, going on a lousy walk is the last thing you really feel like doing. Especially if it's super cold/hot/buggy/rainy. But rain or shine, we have been up and about significantly more than before playing fetch or walking the trails by our house. Maybe it's only 15-30 minutes here and there, but it's definitely added up. I've found that it's cleared my mind a lot more than zoning out on my phone ever does.

2. Forced us to 'look up'

To continue what I mentioned about not zoning out on our phones as much, he physically stops our tech habits. I'm not kidding. It may just be a puppyism, but EVERY time I'm working on the computer on the couch, or sitting in bed zoning out on my phone, he wiggles his nose all up into my business and makes himself so irritating, I have to set it all aside and rub his belly. Maybe he's needy, or spoiled, but it certainly helps me check my habits. He physically climbs ONTO my computer, so what else am I supposed to do? He's too big to ignore!

3. Made us morning people

Well, mostly Tom. But I am up sometime in the 7 or 8 o'clock hour these days which is about as 'morning person' as I can get. Tom lets him out and feeds him around 7 or 7:30, and when he feels like it, he'll make his way upstairs and sniff me right in the face and wag his tail so hard the tail-wind (no pun intended) gets me up in a jiffy. I'm groggy for a far shorter time than I used to be, and I'll even go outside and play a few rounds of chase in the yard... BEFORE 9AM.

4. Made us better people persons

Tom and I were the social butterflies of our friend groups in college, but when we moved to Georgia, we didn't know anyone and making friends outside of college proved to be difficult and we've become extremely introverted. We're okay with this and recognize that different seasons of life bring out different facets of your personality, but it has definitely been a joy to strike up conversation with anyone and everyone who asks about Hondo.

5. Reignited our adventurous spirits

Tom and I have always had restless natures, but somewhere in the last couple years of home projects and routine, we've forgotten to get out and explore our own territory a little. Now we seek out parks, dog friendly restaurants, trails, dog friendly stores, and more. We even recently bought a tent twice the size of our last one to bring our big guy camping before it gets too hot!

6. Made us happier

I think I've made mention before that this past year has brought with it a season of heartbreak and hardship. Our marriage is strong and nothing compromised there, but it's been a tough time nonetheless. It had begun to feel like more days left us feeling defeated rather than uplifted or content. But at just the right time, everything aligned, and this little puppy came home with us. He has brought outstanding joy to our home and filled even just a little of our hearts that had been feeling empty before. We laugh more, dwell on heartaches less, and cherish this present season with contentedness. Say what you will about dogs just being dogs, but I'll thank God for him anyway because he sure has brought a ray of light to our life.

I know there are so many other improvements he has added to our life, and will continue to add, but this is what I have for now. As I write this, I can hear him licking up crumbs from the kitchen floor that I'd normally have to sweep. So maybe you could add that? He's replaced my need for a broom and cleans my floors. He's very utilitarian.

Hondo is just the best. If I talk about him too much on Joy Lynn or my social media outlets, it's simply because I love him so much. 

Do you have a dog? How has he/she improved your life?