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We have just come through a very “different” Thanksgiving season. 2020 has been a little more challenging for get togethers and big dinners, but our pets have been a constant influence on us and a constant comfort for us. The following is a reprint of an article by David Paul Kirkpatrick. It speaks about dogs, but those of us who have cats and other animals know it easily applies to them all. Enjoy!

There are almost 90 million dogs in America. “Everyone thinks they have the best dog, “ wrote W.R. Purche. “And none of them are wrong.” In honor of everyone who knows the joy of those nearly 90 million canines, I have jotted down the ten reasons why I think we should be grateful for our remarkable furry, four-legged pals.

1. They Don’t Judge Us
Dogs don’t care about the following things: what we look like, how much we weigh, whether we won the lottery, or who we voted for in the midterms. From us, they just want some love and attention.

2. They Are Always Happy to See Us
Dogs LOVE when we come home. Every single day. Rain or snow or, they are there to greet us with the utmost excitement. Who doesn’t love that kind of welcome?

3. They’ve Got Our Backs
Even the smallest of pups can help us feel just a little safer. They bark when someone is outside and alert us to visitors at the door. Sure, this can be annoying at times, but most of us feel thankful to be owners of Lassies, great and small, who have our backs.

4. They Remind Us to Live Simply
Every day, they reveal the simple things to us. They remind us that long walks, a bite of something new, an undiscovered trail, driving with the window down, running through an open field, a wet lick on the cheek — are the true joys in life.

5. They Keep Us in Shape
Nothing will motivate us to get up off the couch and go for a walk like our dogs pacing by the door. All the research points to a reduction in human heart disease and stress. The data also points to an elevated sense of well being.

6. They are the Best Snugglers
So what if the Great Dane takes up the entire bed? Who cares if the Pomeranian burrows her way to our socks? Dogs are just the greatest snugglers in the world! If there’s a big game this Thanksgiving weekend, save a spot on the couch for the dog; he’ll definitely appreciate it.

7. They Know How to Have Fun
Grab a ball or a toy and look at your dog’s face. Doesn’t he look like he’s having the time of his life? Chances are, if our dogs are having a good time, we are, too. Imagine all the things we’d miss out on if we didn’t have our dogs! And the added bonus? The latest studies out of Helsinki University indicate that every time we look at a dog, the hormone oxytocin is released  into out blood streams. That’s the “love hormone” that gives us that warm and fuzzy feeling.

8. They’ll Comfort Us When We’re Sad
When we’re feeling down, sometimes the best comfort comes from our four- legged friends. In fact, folks who have dogs are more likely to have better elf-esteem and tend to be less lonely, less fearful, and less preoccupied than people who don’t own dogs. The holidays can be an especially tough time for some people — so let’s be grateful that you have loyal companions who will be by our sides through thick and thin.

9. They Love Us Unconditionally
No matter who we are or what we do, our dogs loves us unconditionally. There are no ultimatums, like: I’ll only love you if you buy me that Black Panther collar by January 2. AND, they can not hold a grudge. They’ll even hang with us when they don’t quite get what we’re doing. Like all that cellphone stuff.

10. They Know How to Put a Smile on Our Faces
I dare you to spend an hour with your dog and not smile. It’s impossible. I’ve tried. It’s hard not to laugh when a dog performs a trick on command. Plus, if we’re smiling because of our dogs, the people around us are probably smiling, too.

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