The internet is flooded with amusing memes about people who care more for their dogs (or cats) than they do about other humans. I must admit, that I am one of those people.
No offense to humans reading this, but I have found over the years that dogs have a certain loyalty and unconditional love that most humans simply cannot match. When it comes to loyalty and unconditional love, humans are still paddling around in the shallow end. This brings me to something that I have been thinking about recently. In our home, our dogs are family members. That’s just the way it is, but some people have asked me why in recent weeks, and I thought now was a good time to clarify the big why!
If you think of what makes anyone a family member, you would probably say “blood”, but it’s about more than that, isn’t it? That’s why we often find people in life that we grow to love so much that they become more than just our friends, but rather our unrelated family members. If you want to take a look at each of the reasons why we consider dogs our family members; read on.
15 reasons why our dogs are more than “just dogs”; they’re family members:
1. Dogs have their own personalities, quirks, preferences.
If all dogs were the same, it would probably be harder to see them as individuals. Over the years, I have found that each of the dogs we have loved has been entirely unique…even when they have been of the same breed. Some have been goofy and energetic, others have been lazy and sleepy, some of have loved veggies while others have been picky eaters.
Getting to know a new dog is like getting to know a human. Because of this, we see our dogs as individuals with thoughts, wants, needs, and traits…and not simply as pets to keep around for our own entertainment.
2. Our dogs always have our backs (protection).
There has never been a time in my life when my dog has not taken my side and protected me in a situation. Humans are fickle like that – dogs are not. If I need someone on my side, I know my dogs have my back – just like a family member should.
3. The dogs add value to each human family member’s life.
No one in our family has been told to develop a relationship with the resident dog, yet each family member has. Everyone from the children to cousins, aunts, and uncles all know the dogs by name, speak to them, greet them, and get something out of a relationship with them. Some might enjoy the company of a dog at their feet, providing happy tail wags with every pet or tickle. Others may enjoy the excitement at their arrival or the fact that the dog follows them around, making them feel important.
The fact that our dogs add such value to each family member’s life really does make them part of the family.
4. Our dogs fit in with our daily routine and “pull their weight”.
In our home, if you want to be part of the family, you live by the family rules and do your share. Our dogs are well trained, listen to the rules that apply to them, and in such, they are pulling their weight. That’s worthy behavior of being part of the family in our book!
5. The health and well-being of our dogs are just as important as the health and well-being of our kids.
If one of our dogs gets sick or isn’t looking well, we are extremely stressed about it. This indicates just how much we care about them – because they are one of us, part of our team.
6. Our dogs provide us with unconditional affection and love.
Being part of a family means that you are there for each other, care about each other and go the extra mile for each other. While we don’t share the same DNA with our dogs, they show us unconditional love and affection – the type of treatment you would only expect from a family member.
7. The dogs in our home are always willing to provide companionship at a moment’s notice.
When you don’t have friends close at hand and you need a bit of company that’s guaranteed, who do you turn to? You would reach out to a family member, of course. Considering that our dogs are always willing to give us their time and attention when we need some company, they are certainly part of the family.
8. We choose a dog for a lifetime, not just a holiday/weekend/short period of time.
When we consider getting a new dog, it’s never a short-term thing. We know that the dog we end up with will be with us ‘forever’. And that’s the type of commitment we are only willing to give to someone that will be part of the family.
9. If anything happens to our dogs, we are extremely upset and emotional.
Emotions say it all …don’t they?! When our dogs aren’t in the best condition or are hurt, our entire family is emotionally affected by it. We assign the same emotional reaction to our dogs being sick or hurt as we do to our human family members being sick or hurt. That’s because our dogs have become part of the family.
10. The dogs are at every family gathering, event, and celebration.
Of course, our dogs are present at every birthday, anniversary, celebration, and family get together. They feature in all the photos, get treats on the day, and spend time with each family member. You can’t get any closer to our family than our dogs – and that’s because they are family!
11. Each dog goes with us on family holidays.
The proof of our dogs being integrated members of our family is truly noticed when we go on holiday. Our pets are packed up along with us and go on holiday with us. If the holiday resort or destination isn’t pet friendly, you won’t find us holidaying there.
12. Our dogs have respect for each family member and do their best to fit in.
In our family, a person worthy of being a “family member” are those who respect each other and do their utmost best to fit into the family unit. This is precisely what our dogs do.
13. We are 100% entirely ourselves around the dogs (can’t say the same for other humans).
They say that you can only be truly yourself and let your guard down around your close family members. We are entirely ourselves and relaxed around our dogs – I guess that means we are family!
14. Our dogs know what makes us happy and sad.
Family members are supposed to know what makes you happy and what makes you sad. They are supposed to be there for the good times and the bad times and provide support either way. Our dogs are a great support system, and whether you are happy or sad, they will be right alongside you, being happy or sad with you. Now that’s a great family!
15. We love that our dogs keep us active and healthy.
Family members care about each other’s health and try to help each other stay healthy, active, and in great condition. Our dogs certainly do that for us with their encouragement of games, running, walking – you name it! Without our dogs, we might be couch potatoes!
I often find myself completely taken aback when someone doesn’t understand why we see our dogs as family members. For me, it is completely unfathomable that a pet would be anything less. I have to remind myself that not everyone has had the joy of loving a pet like I have, or truly seeing animals for the sentient and emotional beings that they are.
So, are our dogs family members? In our house, they certainly are. In fact, if you don’t like our dogs, you probably shouldn’t come over!