People love their dogs, and most treat them as if they were there their own flesh and blood.  Sometimes, the family dog is preferred to some family members. Let me correct that, most times, the family dog is preferred to most family members.  For much of my life, we’ve had a family dog, a variety of breeds, from a Brittany spaniel, to a bulldog and boxers. My last dog passed away in 2015 and this past weekend, my wife and I picked up a new puppy.  She is very cute and is sure to be plastered all over social media for years to come (the puppy, not my wife, although my wife is cute too). The down side is that I had to bribe a local trainer $50, to get her into an “elite” puppy school, where she can hang out with the puppies of celebrity owners.  As a columnist for The Winter Park Times, I consider myself a local celebrity, so naturally, my puppy would need to attend a top tier training school.

People have a special relationship with animals, especially with dogs and the reasons are mostly obvious.  They can be trained with a little bit of effort and sometimes can perform entertaining tricks. They are great for walks and hiking, although there were many times my bulldog needed to be carried home.  Dogs are loyal, affectionate and make great companions. My daughter has a dog and she refers to him as her “best friend”. I am not sure if that is a testament to the dog, or maybe she needs to get out more and find some new friends.

Dogs are better at one thing than we humans: unconditional love. They are always happy to see you when you walk in the door, no matter how good or bad your day has been. They want to spend time with you and they really don’t care how many Twitter followers you have or how many Facebook “likes” your most recent post received.  Many breeds are affectionate and just want the love and attention reciprocated. Also, the simplest things make your dog happy. They can chase a ball until your arm is tired of throwing as well as being content to sit in your lap while watching a movie. They’re also oblivious about crushing your legs during the movie if you happen to own a large dog. It’s easy to make a dog happy. We humans, are a bit more complicated, which is both good and bad.

Take a dog on a new hiking trail and they have childlike wonder about the world.  Everything is so new, so interesting and has a unique smell. Our society has lost that sense of wonder and kids grow up faster than ever. Childhood innocence is just a few short years, which is bit a sad to me.  Our modern culture is fast paced and connected 24\7, yet more people are lonelier then ever. Maybe everyone should get a puppy and try to see the world through their eyes.