My Dog Doesn’t Judge Me And Neither Should I
I remember that day like it was yesterday.
It was raining — not like the refreshing summer showers one might experience in other parts of the country, but Las Vegas-in-July rain. Here, rain comes out of nowhere right after the meteorologist predicts another gloriously monotonous day of sunshine.
I was walking out of the grocery store that day, with my bags — paper, not plastic — full of groceries. My gaze shifted back and forth between my car and the semi-ominous sky. I decided to make a run for it. I grabbed my bags and made a beeline for the car.
In two minutes, I was drenched, the bags fell apart, and I was clambering along the ground to salvage whatever I could.
As if the sky was intentionally waiting for me to make my move, the clouds opened up and let loose. And as is common here, the accompanying 40-mile-an-hour winds kicked up to make sure to ice that cake. In two minutes, I was drenched, the bags fell apart, and I was clambering along the ground to salvage whatever I could. In the frenzy, I also managed to drop my cell phone and crack the glass. To add insult to injury, by the time I got home five minutes later, the sun was shining and there was barely any sign that I had just been swimming in a parking lot chasing produce and peanut butter.
I was ready to explode as I walked into the house. I was soaked, I lost half my groceries, and I was going to need a new cell phone. Then I looked over at my three mutts, all sitting in a perfect chorus line. “What are you looking at?” I snarled. In unison, all three heads tilted to one side, in that special way that dogs do, their eyes wide as platters. That was all it took. I broke out into a true belly laugh as I threw the soaked groceries on the counter and sat down on the floor while my three mutts showed me just how much they loved me. It was in that moment that I knew it didn’t matter how I looked or what kind of day I’d had; these guys were always there for me.
As I look back on that day, I realize that while I never take my dogs for granted, I probably don’t fully appreciate the potential they have to make me feel good, every single day. And that’s not just me talking.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists all these as benefits of owning a pet:
- Decreased blood pressure
- Decreased cholesterol levels
- Decreased triglyceride levels
- Decreased feelings of loneliness
- Increased opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities
- Increased opportunities for socialization
Those may not be the reasons I got dogs to begin with, but they sure are some healthy side effects. So, what’s the real reason for my mutt menagerie? They don’t judge me, even when I’m at my worst. If I have the flu and I haven’t had a shower for a day or two, they don’t care. Truth be told, I think they kind of like it. Bad hair day? They don’t care. When I don’t get the promotion I worked so hard for, or skip the gym for a week (OK, month), or just have one of those “What am I doing with my life?” days, they don’t care. All they care about is that I’m there. They don’t see a failure or someone who thinks treadmills are pointless (you’re not going anywhere!); they see someone who rolls around on the floor with them and sneaks bits of people food into their bowls. They see the real me — the one who loves them with everything I have and tries to make the most out of every day. Whether I actually succeed doesn’t matter.
So, while the rest of the world is busy judging every aspect of our lives, there’s amazing solace in knowing that our beautiful, sweet creatures will always provide us with a safe, nonjudgmental space. And there’s certainly something to be learned from that!