Do you own your dog, or does your dog own you? It’s a good question. No longer are dogs relegated to sleeping in dog crates and dining exclusively on scraps from the table, today’s dogs have become integral parts of the family, so much so that many of them eat better than their own masters! Great consideration is given to selecting vacation destinations where Fido can tag along too, and on more than one occasion, you’ve found yourself contemplating a dog bed that costs more than you’re willing to spend on a new pair of shoes for yourself! Yet some people just don’t seem to “get” this. They shake their heads when we joyfully order that expensive leather collar and spend our weekends scaling mountains just because Fido loves exploring nature. They don’t understand that dogs are a part of the family, and that is not going to change.
A Changing Social Climate
There was a time when people were more social. We went to other people’s homes, and we invited them into our own. We even looked forward to social events in our communities. But today’s society has become much more insular. Our homes have become our havens, and we really don’t want anyone to intrude on our space. When we crave social interaction, we seek it outside of our homes. In this way, we can maintain the right to leave when it all gets to be a little too much, a luxury we wouldn’t have if we invited people to visit us in our houses.
In the absence of a busy social events calendar and in the midst of a society in which relationships are largely digitized, people have started to look elsewhere for emotional fulfillment. Social media and email have created an environment where people’s behavior often falls to the lowest common denominator. Things someone would think twice about saying in a face to face conversation, suddenly become fair game when hidden behind a computer screen. This has caused a degeneration of manners and etiquette, has destroyed relationships, and led to a world of hurt.
No wonder we are drawn to our dogs! Fuelled by a desire to be loved and accepted as we are, we have turned to our favorite furry friends for the encouragement that we need. After all, Fido is always happy to see us when we come home, and he forgives all of our shortcomings and errors with a wag of his furry little tail. There is no remembrance of past grievances; there is only constant companionship and a dedicated love. Those qualities are hard to find in today’s world. We value them immensely, and we take great joy in lavishing love, affection, and even money on our beloved canine pals.
The Dog as a Family Member
In recent years, our dogs have moved center stage in our homes. A dog is often the glue that joins a family together. Even during times of conflict and hurt, the one thing most families can agree on is that they love Fido and enjoy his company.
Dogs enrich our lives in many ways. They are the epitome of loyalty, forgiveness, and love, but best of all, they are always up for an adventure! You are never alone if you have a dog…even in place you might like a little privacy like the bathroom!
Yes, the dog is most definitely a beloved family member. Here are just a few of the roles he fills in many families:
Your bed is now Fido’s bed.
At some point in your life, you may have said that no dog is ever going to share your bed with you. Now, you roll over in the morning and smile contentedly when you see that Fido has claimed a portion of your pillow. Studies show that up to 40 percent of owners claim that their quality of sleep is improved when their dog joins them for a snooze in their bed. This could be simply because the close proximity to a beloved pet promotes feelings of contentedness and security. It really goes both ways as Fido takes his role as protector quite seriously, and he too sleeps just a little better knowing that he is right beside his favorite person in case he is needed.
Your dog has claimed his own “spot” on his favorite couch or chair.
Many dogs find spots on the furniture that are just the right size and shape for their bodies. When they source their perfect place, they settle in and resent being moved from it. A sure sign your dog has become a family member is when you work around these preferences even if it means being uncomfortable yourself. After all, who has the heart to move Fido when he looks so cute curled up in the middle of the sofa? You can get used to contorting your body around him like a human pretzel, right? Your dog doesn’t move to make you more comfortable; you move to make your dog more comfortable.
Your dog gets presents on his birthday and holidays.
Celebrating your dog’s birthday has become as normal to you as bringing home chocolates for your wife on your anniversary. It is not to be missed! Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without a few presents for Fido under the tree and some videos of him tearing through the wrapping paper…then playing with the box for the remainder of Christmas Day!
Your dog has his own wardrobe with something for every occasion.
Every family members has their own wardrobe, and that includes family members of the furry variety as well. After all, you wouldn’t send your kids out with bare feet in the rain, and Fido surely would not appreciate a downpour ruining his new haircut. So Fido has several raincoats, sweaters, dog boots, collars and leashes in every color, and of course…some Halloween costumes. He’s the best dressed pooch on the block, and he is ready for every occasion!
Your dog goes on vacation with you.
A vacation is not a vacation if Fido can’t come too! If you’re planning a family getaway, top on the list is a place that allows dogs to tag along.
You don’t make a purchase without considering how it affects your dog.
Families with pets don’t make major purchases without considering how the new acquisition will affect their fave furry friend and particularly not when it comes to a big purchase like a house or a car. There are certain amenities Fido has become used to, and you’re not prepared to compromise on them! A house without a fenced in yard is simply not going to be an option for your pampered pooch. When it comes to purchasing a car, you’re going to want to consider comfort factor for when your fave furry friend is advancing in age and can’t jump as well as he once did.
Your dog is front and center in family photos.
A family photo must contain every member of the family, and that means Fido front and center! Yes, it may sometimes complicate getting the perfect shot, but it also means lots of laughter along the way and great memories as you retell the tale of how many mishaps took place en route to that one photo masterpiece.
Your dog is the recipient of meals cooked just for him.
If you find yourself cooking for your beloved dog all the while calling for takeout for your kids, you know that Fido is firmly entrenched in his role as a family member. After all, only the very best nutrition for Fido will do.
Of course, you can’t forget those little treats that help Fido to understand just how special he is. These may include an extra hamburger added to your order in the drive thru at Wendy’s and an ice cream from McDonald’s on a hot summer day. And what is a trip to Starbucks without a puppachino for your best canine pal?
Your dog receives regular veterinary care.
Love means making sure your fave pooch stays healthy! You watch him like a hawk and take him to the vet at the first sign of something not quite right. He receives as much dental care as your children, and you’ve even added a few supplements to his routine to keep him healthy and strong.
Your dog is so loved that if you had to choose between him and some of your friends and family…you just might choose your dog.
The bottom line is you have to love your family, and you have to tolerate their presence even when they are being exceptionally annoying. But if you had to choose between Fido and the fam…well, it’s just better that they not ask you to!
Your dog is the center of your world, and you can’t imagine life without him.
The bottom line is your dog is the center of your world. Not only can you not imagine life without him, you don’t want to. Each moment of each day is precious.
Yes, dogs are most certainly important members of the family. Not everyone is going to understand that, but that’s okay. You kind of feel sorry for them. After all, what is life without the love of a good dog? You don’t intend to ever find out.