The story highlights how much our pets bring us together and show we are “more alike than we realize” (York Dispatch, 2017). I am reminded of how many times while out walking Molson or Muddy, a stranger stops to say hello. Or, I stop to say hi to another family’s dog. We take a moment to pause and appreciate an innocent, adorable dog regardless of what personal struggles or overwhelm we may be facing. We seem to forget life’s burdens for a moment and just appreciate another living thing. Sometimes it is only a passing smile or a “hey buddy.” Other times we stop and get to know the pup’s name, breed, and background while offering a friendly scratching or pat on the head.
This moment, the fleeting pause, can sometimes be just what we needed in a difficult time. It can be a reminder to appreciate the small things and ignore the noise. Pets have been shown to help us “stave off negativity” and “help individuals facing significant life stressors” (McConnell, Brown, Shoda, Stayton, & Martin, 2011). While there are many scientific studies and scholarly articles written about this, I think everyone has an anecdotal story that provides personal proof.
For 6 years, Mister Molson came to work with me. For the past month, Mister Muddy has been coming to work. Some may think that a dog at work is a distraction. But for me, they have provided that reset, that deep breath, that reminder of priorities at just the right moment. I am extremely lucky to have a workplace that recognizes and appreciates what dogs bring to our lives. I know the dogs appreciate it as well as they help Larry eat his peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or visit Veda at the Credit Union for treats and affection.
The York Dispatch story reminds us how much of an impact a dog can make on the lives of those around him or her. Simply by being a dog, they can break down barriers, bring people together, provide purpose, and teach us to be mindful. Often times our pets love us even more than we love ourselves. It is easy to get wrapped up in what is happening at work, in the news, in personal relationships, or the everyday struggle of being an adult. But as this article states perfectly, life is better when “we remember what matters” (York Dispatch, 2017). So, maybe next time you see a dog, pause, take a deep breath, say hello, and remember what really matters.
York Dispatch (2017). Editorial: Relief from grim news.