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Happiness And Dogs
updated: Feb 25, 2014, 1:45 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

Are people happier because they have dogs, or do happy people just tend to have dogs? Thinking about getting one. Have two small kids and a yard...

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 497703 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 01:53 PM

They have to walk more which is good for you and that makes you happy because you are doing good things to yourself.

 

 COMMENT 497704 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 01:54 PM

Dogs can add a lot to your family life. I don't think that dogs equate to happiness, but dogs are generally social and live in the moment and to the extent that your personality is like that, it brings a lot of satisfaction.

 

 COMMENT 497705P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 01:54 PM

Wouldn't it depend on the dog? (And the person.) I've seen some very unhappy, even angry-seeming dogs and the people seemed normal, although now that I think about it, they weren't particularly friendly.

I got a little dog, a Bichon mix, a stray, he was, at a shelter and although for about 6 months he didn't seem to care about much of anything, now he's very cheerful, loves to go for walks and runs (in the dog parks) and so many people say when they see him on a walk, "What a happy little dog!!!" No one has said that about me, however. ;)

 

 COMMENT 497708 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 01:57 PM

Studies have been done that demonstrate pets have a calming effect on us--documentation of blood pressure lowered, less need for pain medication, etc. Dogs and other pets elicit a sense of well-being because it is good for us to care for others, be they animal or human.

 

 COMMENT 497709 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 02:05 PM

Both are true. Happier people are probably more likely to get a dog than unhappy people, and a dog is likely to make a person happier.

Just like a healthier person is more likely to eat healthy food, and healthy food is likely to make a person feel healthier.

...and other examples, ad infinitum.

 

 COMMENT 497710P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 02:11 PM

Dogs are great and we wouldn't be without one.

However, if you have small kids and no dog experience, please, please, please take the time to find the right one that is going to fit into your lifestyle.

I'm sure if you ask at the local shelters, they can help you identify a dog that is gentle and well-socialized. Find a gentle, calm dog that can handle your kids and be part of your life instead of locked away when visitors come over.

 

 COMMENT 497711 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 02:12 PM

I cannot envision a life for me without a dog or dogs. They add so much enjoyment to a home, and family, and do not ask for much. Just their water, food, a good place to sleep, a little petting, adequate exercise.

Mine had always been a happy home and I had happy , contented pets. But when I went through a long bad period, they were always there for me, to comfort or entertain me. And to keep me active. They communicate with me, and with each other--there are five and all different, but get along fine with each other.

They are very protective, guarding me or my casa, but not really guard dogs, but alert pups of different ages and breeds. All rescue pups, all from birth or soon after.

 

 COMMENT 497714P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 02:18 PM

Every morning I wake up grateful that I share my home with a dog. She gives me the companionship -- and unconditional love -- that I never got as a kid. We go out for exercise and socialization every day. I'm not on Facebook but have considered creating a page for her because she has so many friends -- human as well as canine.

 

 COMMENT 497715P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 02:18 PM

I know that I was in a deep depression and getting my 2 bichon mixes at the shelter brought me out of it. Walking them 4 times a day gets me out of the house and into the fresh air. I am much happier now that I have dogs and we dance in the living room all the time.

 

 COMMENT 497718 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 02:30 PM

Without Peaches (full name is Peaches and Cream) in my life I don't know what I would do!! I was depressed until Peaches, a rescue dog, was sent by a higher power to save me from a very dark place. We do everything together: walking, talking (yes, Peaches talks to me), driving around, going to our favorite restaurants, going to the beach, staying in hotels that allow pets, and EVERYTHING. Everyone should have a wonderful dog like my Peaches (and Cream!).

 

 COMMENT 497721 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 02:35 PM

Another dog lover here! I had dogs, angora goats and cows when my kids were little and this helped them learn respect for all creatures and responsibility. They also learned the joy of having an unwavering buddy and the benefit of "fur therapy". Kids are grown now, but I would never be without a dog.

The first lesson in responsibility for your kids could be to select your furry friend from the many wonderful dogs at the pound! You can foster a dog to see if adding a dog to your family is a good choice for you and your kids. We did that and ended up being a "failed foster" because we liked her so much we ended up adopting her. This was a little dog who had been in the pokey for 1 1/2 years and she is wonderful despite her long stay there.

Big thanks to the volunteers and workers who provide normalcy in a very abnormal setting for these critters!

 

 COMMENT 497727 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 02:55 PM

They appreciate the fact that their dogs never get mad at them. Dog owners, in turn, pick up their poop. I think dogs snicker a little bit...."you think you own me?" Pick this one up!

 

 COMMENT 497733 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 03:04 PM

I talk about this to my wife last night. I was always a cat person. Now we've had a couple dogs and it has changed me a bit. I really appreciate the regularity of walking the neighborhood twice a day. I unplug, exercise, become familiar with my neighbors and see what is going for 30-40 minutes a day, everyday. I don't know that I'm happier, but I appreciate the routine.

 

 MISTA agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 03:06 PM

First off, Dogs will make your house dirtier, your yard messier and taking vacations require planning-dog-sitting or accommodating your pet when taking your dog along... There is a huge responsibility for making sure you take care of your buddy.
That being said, they give back way more than we could ever give to them. They are family members Unfortunately, they aren't around for more then 10 or so yrs. and its a bummer to say goodbye. It's gut-wrenching to see human pet owners who prolong a pets "normal" life and see the dog hobbling around, blind or otherwise. We just put our 13 yr old Lab down and it was tough- She had a great will to continue, but her back and legs were going and it was time- Dogs add a lot to a family and give more than you can write.

 

 COMMENT 497742 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 03:21 PM

There was a NOVA episode about dogs and it mentioned that when a person pets a dog, endorphins ( happy hormones ) rise in both the human and the dog. So there you go, scientific proof that dogs make us happy and that we make dogs happy. Thousands of years of selection for just the right relationship.

 

 COMMENT 497750 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 04:03 PM

In my neighborhood, people get high-strung yappy dogs so they can annoy their neighbors all day. Seems to make them happy.

 

 COMMENT 497760 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 04:50 PM

Dogs are not one's whole life, but they make one's life whole.

 

 COMMENT 497761 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 05:16 PM

Depends on the person. I've seen some pretty unhappy looking people out walking the dog, as well as, people so busy texting that they aren't paying attention to the dog, their kid or the traffic.

 

 COMMENT 497765 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 05:36 PM

Dog owners I know got one because they were depressed and/or felt something was missing (unconditional love perhaps?) It's helped my mom who suffers from depression but it's also a huge hassle when traveling, having to constantly walk/clean up after, destroys furniture and garden, annoys the neighbors, huge vet bills, and now she's obsessing about it getting old and dying. Personally I'm very happy and have never felt the need for one. You might try fostering one first to see how it goes before committing.

 

 COMMENT 497767 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 05:54 PM

During times when my life has been great, my dogs have made my life that much better. And when things get bad? Well, sometimes all a person has is their dog. They will love you like nobody else and if you spend a bit of time and effort giving them some love and care back, you feel like you've done some good in this world.

I feel sorry for people who don't feel the need to spend time with a dog. Vet bills, the 'hassle' of cleaning up after them is just a small part of life with a dog and the love and dedication they give you is well worth it.

 

 COMMENT 497768 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 05:57 PM

WHAT or WHO is always happy to see you when you walk in the door......your dog! No one will ever love you as unconditionally as your dog! Be happy if you have one.

 

 COMMENT 497780 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 07:17 PM

My dog is family! He never asks for the car keys, or money, he doesn't smoke or drink, he is always happy to see me, even if I just stepped out to empty the garbage, he thinks I've been gone 10 hours!! He stares out the window anxiously waiting until I arrive home if I'm just a bit late, he gives me that look that says it's time for us to go to bed mom. He gives me ten thousand kisses per day. I'd give my life for this guy, and I know he would for me. Oh yes, my life is happy and greatly enriched because of my precious pitbull blooey!

 

 COMMENT 497781 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 07:20 PM

I am unhappier when people get dogs. And I love dogs.

 

 COMMENT 497787 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 07:38 PM

Thank you 760. Your comment says it all. Does anyone out there in Edhat land know the origin of the word dog in the English language? We all know what the word means when it is spelled in reverse. Have any of you read Susannah Charleson's Scent of the Missing or her latest book The Possibility of Dogs. If you haven't you would really enjoy both.You will learn about the hard work and dedication of humans and canines who give their time and energy to save others. Dogs bring us so much joy and pleasure be they a household pet or a therapy animal.

 

 COMMENT 497791 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 07:51 PM

Dogs have a shorter life span than people. They also tend to make things like furniture, carpet and anything they can chew on not last very long. In a way they force people to realize that nothing lasts forever. This compels us to make the most of every moment and live happier lives.

 

 COMMENT 497794 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 07:58 PM

781 - care to expand?

 

 COMMENT 497797P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 08:18 PM

Pitbull and happy don't seem to go together.

 

 COMMENT 497798 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 08:19 PM

Dogs and children - for me - are great if they are well mannered and have their poop management in place. Naughty dogs and bratty kids get no treats.

 

 COMMENT 497801 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 08:31 PM

@97p I know of several million who have found the love and happiness of pitbull ownership. Go to dawg or the humane society, and meet your new best friend. They will change minds, dispel myths, and make a believer out of you. Never have I known the love this misunderstood breed has to offer. Thank you for your kind consideration

 

 COMMENT 497803P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 08:40 PM

Since childhood my life has been enriched because my family always had at least one dog.

My current one came from a very special place and if any one wants to know how to treat their dog be sure to visit
DAWG. That group is so loving and devoted to our four-legged friends. And if you want to consider adopting from them they know how to vet you. Furthermore, if after you go forward and things don't work out they want to know so that they can find another good family for their friend.

 

 COMMENT 497816P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 10:28 PM

Both, but I really do think people, dog-motivated or not, are happier because they have dogs, for all the reasons cited above, specifically exercise and unconditional love, but so many more. Sociability is a big one, as you walk in the neighborhood or parks, and meet other dog owners. Cuddling with the 4-legged. Someone always there to pay attention and love you. So many benefits.

And then there's finding THE dog; experiencing something transcendent when you share your life with this dog. You don't know it will be THE dog when it joins you. Like human partners, it CAN happen more than once. But you never forget your first or only.

I'm a cat person who's also had several dogs. But THAT dog ... Well, you know. Dog of my life.

 

 COMMENT 497818P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 10:41 PM

Not sure what 787 is getting at. Etymology research of "dog" is on the interwebs.

"Old English docga, a late, rare word used of a powerful breed of canine. It forced out Old English hund (the general Germanic and Indo-European word; see canine) by 16c. ... the origin remains one of the great mysteries of English etymology."
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=dog

etymology:
http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/56405

 

 COMMENT 497820P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 10:46 PM

"Dogs are not one's whole life, but they make one's life whole."

Roger Caras, long-time host of Westminster Dog Show, among other life accomplishments.

 

 COMMENT 497827P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 11:25 PM

I don't know how people live without dogs.

 

 COMMENT 497829P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 11:33 PM

I live happily without a having dog myself. My neighbors all let their dogs--6 of them--run free so they leave their gifts of affection all over my yard!

 

 IZZY2SHOES agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-26 06:38 AM

Copy and paste below link. Dogs and people make each other happy

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/02/21/280640267/how-dogs-read-our-moods-emotion-detector-found-in-fidos-brain?
utm_campaign=storyshare&utm_source=share&utm_mediu
m=facebook

 

 COMMENT 497838 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-26 06:53 AM

Dogs definitely make one happy. Mine would always make me smile when we exchanged looks.

I grieve for my dog. Dead, after 16 years of happiness, loyalty and unconditional love.

Dog shows are awful. The performing handlers primp, poke and polish the poor animal within an inch of it's life. They waddle, hop and prance for the cameras and sashay and slobber for the judges. If they win that giant silver spittoon they will pose, grin, wriggle, jump up and down and get hugs from everyone.

As the bewildered dog looks on - ignored,

 

 COMMENT 497854 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-26 07:44 AM

I think Mark Twain said it all!!!!- - - -

"If there are no dogs in heaven, then I want to go where they go!"

 

 COMMENT 497860 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-26 08:06 AM

The benefits of having a dog in this fast paced world, where we are bombarded daily, mostly with bad news and high pressure decisions to be made, are evident to most dog owners. Dogs provide uncomplicated, non-judgmental friendship and faithful devotion and companionship hard to find in todays world. Marriage and family commitments have, unfortunately, disintegrated over the past decades and inter-family loyalty, love and unfettered devotion between spouses and family members rarely exist anymore. Marriage vows are often just synthetic pretexts never intended to be binding, that is of course, if a couple even bothers to get married at all. Children are more and more detached and caught up in their own world, often one centered on "social media outlets" and focused on a self-image excessively influenced by an obsession for materialism and what others may think about them. The faithful companionship of a dog can often fill this significant void.

 

 COMMENT 497880 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-26 08:48 AM

Please pick up your best friend's poo and the poo of other peoples doggies too.
Seems like lots of pooch parents cant see thier little buddies when the make thier dookies, so could you be a ultra super responsible pet owner and give them a hand?
While on the subject, who bags the pet waste and then leaves it behind ? This happens every where, parks, playgrounds, trails, beaches. Pick up your poo and make every one as happy as your doggie makes you. Thanks.

 

 COMMENT 497893P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-26 09:11 AM

Dogs add so much to our lives, and studies do show that dog owners have lower blood pressure, stress, etc. A dog will love you unconditionally, and you can tell them anything and they won't repeat what you've said, nor judge you!!

Now to be preachy, when bringing a dog into your family and home, plan to commit fully for its entire lifetime, not just when it's convenient for you or "cute". Dogs rely solely on humans for their care, food, shelter, companionship, and they especially crave companionship. Please don't get one only to have it confined alone in the backyard after a few months. That's heartbreaking to me.

 

 COMMENT 497899 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-26 09:34 AM

I like my dogs a lot, but I don't try to anthropomorphize them into best friends or depression curers or life savers. I have fun with them, they have a good time with me, and I don't mind the time it takes to care for them properly with training and vet visits and feeding and daily exercise.

 

 COMMENT 497902 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-26 09:40 AM

The research has shown that people with dogs - and cats - are happier. BP goes down. Taking care of an animal is very rewarding. Animal taking care of you is also rewarding, for both.

 

 COMMENT 497950 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-26 11:05 AM

Woody for City Council! All you need us love, and a dog.

 

 COMMENT 497987 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-26 12:36 PM

The same research that shows psychological benefits of dog ownership shows a similar benefit from a goldfish or even a house plant.

The main benefit comes from caring for a dependent living thing.

Dogs have a huge negative environmental impact. By some measures, one medium sized dog in America has a greater impact than adding two extra vehicles to the road.

Plant and nurture a tree instead.

 

 COMMENT 497990P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-26 12:45 PM

987 - I like your perspective. I like dogs, but people seem so obsessed with them these days. I travel too much to have one anyway. But caring for my garden and indoor plants is very rewarding to me and releases my endorphins. It has certainly enhanced my neighborhood too.

 

 COMMENT 498202 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-27 07:57 AM

I've got a dog, a garden, and house plants yet still feel depressed. Maybe I need a fish?

My dog smiles a lot and always greets life with enthusiasm. He's my guru.

 

 COMMENT 498205 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-27 08:02 AM

My dog makes me laugh every day. She is a clown and brings great joy to my life. I am completely aware of how very hard it is to lose them and the little time they are here but I wouldn't live my life any other way. Adopt a rescue dog!

 

 COMMENT 498415 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-27 03:13 PM

987 can i nuture two extra vehicles instead? Then I can use them to take my current dogs to the dog park.....

 

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