Family and friends gather around at Thanksgiving to give thanks for all the year has brought them. In addition to over-eating, take a moment during this holiday season to give thanks for your dog.
Love and Comfort
Although some of us may have struggled during these economic times, it's nice to know that our dogs love us unconditionally. They don't care if we are rich or poor - all they want is to love us, be loved, and sneak some of our attention. When you come home, who is the first to greet you at the door with his tail wagging? He is ALWAYS glad to see you! Who is the first to cuddle on the couch with you and give you kisses? He's not embarrassed by your kisses (like teenagers are). He doesn't care if you're in a bad mood and if you've had a hard day, he makes everything seem brighter.
Their loyalty never wavers. For many years, dogs have been used to help the seeing and hearing impaired, but their roles in helping people who are infirmed have now expanded. We have all heard miraculous stories about dogs that save their owners from death. There was a recent story in USA Today, where a dog who sustained life threatening injuries himself pushed a child out of the way of a speeding car that ran through a stop sign. Or Mabeline, a rescue shelter dog that saved her female dog walker from a male attacker.
Then there are the dogs that help veterans overcome PTSD, isolation, depression and nightmares. There's Paws for Purple Hearts, K9s for Warriors and other organizations who pair golden retrievers and labs with veterans who have a hard time adjusting to civilian life. One of the greatest things about these programs is they use rescue and shelter dogs, saving them for certain death as well.
More recently, dogs have been trained to help people with diabetes, epilepsy, mobility, high blood pressure and more. And what better warning system to have? Plus, search and rescue dogs help people in a wide variety of situations -- from hikers who have gotten lost in the wilderness, to disaster victims who are trapped underneath rubble.
Our dogs may be our best friend, but for some people they can be lifesavers!
Your dog's antics make you laugh. Even when it's not so funny at the time, you have to laugh later. Does your dog bark at his own reflection in the mirror? Has he ever brought you a dead mouse as a "present?"
Although dogs can't talk to us in English, they often use their own body language and vocal tones to communicate what they want. And for many people, they fill the silence of an empty house. They keep people from being lonely, bored and depressed. They get people up and moving, since they need to go outside and exercise. Many times, they are a great way to meet people at a dog park or walking around the neighborhood.
So as we kick off this holiday season, remember to give thanks to your best and most loyal companion! No wonder they are called "man's best friend".