Why Dogs Grow Your Extended Family With Unconditional Love

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Welcome home!

I’ve been talking a lot about creating our own families, and about some of us having our extended families based upon more than just our biological connections. I even suggest taking this one step further. Enter: the family pet.


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Now, I know that not everybody is a dog person. Having a dog isn’t for everyone because it can be a lot of work. There’s walking the little beastie, vet bills, and licensing, not to mention the love and attention that they need (and deserve!).

I am a dog person, and I love terriers in particular. Let me introduce my dog Inu. Inu means “dog” in both Japanese and Inuit. Inu is a hugely important part of my family, even though she is a ton of work and she barks too much, and sometimes snarls and snaps.

Because I’m a dog person, I get huge benefits from having the companionship of a dog. Growing up, it was having a terrier (or two) that completed our family home. When I grew up and got my first house, the first thing I did was to find a terrier ~ even before I bought any furniture! The first pup I got was a Jack Russell, and I named her Dogger. For the almost 15 years I had that special girl, everyone who knew me knew that Dogger and I had a special connection. After Dogger passed, and after some months of being dogless, we got Inu. Inu is a Rat Terrier, and Rat Terriers are supposed to be more cuddly and need less exercise than a Jack Russell. Total lies.

The right companion

Now, not all dogs work for all families. I used to have a dog named Daegan – Daegs for short – and he was a LOT of dog for our family. A few years ago he moved up the street with our wonderful neighbours, and he’s a lot happier now with them than he ever was with us.

And then there are dogs that need unconditional love. I will never forget the moment I first met my very dear friend Danielle. This was years ago now. She introduced me to her difficult, high-strung, misbehavin’, and loveable mixed-breed named Nattie. After introducing herself to me, Danielle said “This is Nattie. She is my WHOLE  heart.” Enough said. Both Nattie and Danielle have been in my heart ever since.

And then there are people – like my friend Kym – who like dogs way more than they like people. She also happens to run a business ~ you guessed it ~ walking dogs. When I need a sitter for Inu, it is to Auntie Kym’s she goes for a sleepover. Inu comes back suitably exhausted and just a bit more well-behaved (for a while, anyway!).

What I love about dogs is that they are so forgiving, and they love us no matter what. They’re happy to see us when we get home at the end of a long day. Having a dog is about being accepted and loved for who we are. If only humans could love us the way our dogs do! If only we could love our humans the way our dogs love us. 

While having a dog is a huge commitment and may not be for everyone, for those of us who have the time and structure in our lives for a dog, a dog is just the kind of “person” who can fill our hearts to full.

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From my home to yours,

Val


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About the Author

I'm Val Hemminger. It is my mission to help you find happiness, in a busy world that we sometimes find lonely. In my more than 20 years as a divorce lawyer I have seen many people who believed their lives destroyed by the devastation of an ended union. I have also seen clients come back from that sadness to live a rich and meaningful life. I have seen that so many of us live insular lives. We sometimes feel isolated even though we have very busy schedules with tons to do. This site, its podcast, recommended books and related Facebook Group are all designed to welcome you to design a life built on more meaningful connection with others.

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