How does it happen? They work their way into your heart with hardly any effort. You don't always choose them and yet they stay even when they are a burden. They can't talk and yet they can say volumes with their eyes, their posture and their tail. No matter how mad they may make you, they still come to you with that look in their eyes that says you are the world to them.

Dogs. We have three and we got them in what is likely the classic ways. "Can we keep it?", "It's my Birthday gift" and "If we don't take it, it's going to The Shelter."

Kids and dogs. They gang up on you. They have a natural ability to seek out your soft spots and wheedle through your resistance. "I'll take care of it, really I will." We let ourselves be persuaded, knowing full well what is most likely to happen. If you had one when you were a kid, you already sympathize. It brings back memories of a true friend that you now miss. How can you deny your kid such a thing and would it really be so bad to have a dog around again?

Next thing you know, who's walking it in the rain? Who's shelling out the money to feed it? Still, when you come home from a horrid day at work, who's at the door barely able to contain their excitement? When you feel under the weather, who snuggles against you and reminds you they are glad you are there? When you think about it, they really ask for so little. They have no need for fancy clothes, expensive cars, going out partying till all hours. They don't run up bills on your credit card or on your phone, at least not usually. While you can shower them in gifts and fine things, they will remain themselves. As long as you pay attention to them occasionally, they are happy.

They give benefits that are not always obvious. Getting up out of your chair to go walk them is not only good for them. Meeting neighbors who are also walking can break a feeling of isolation that you might not even have noticed. Being in a neighborhood where people are out walking around just feels friendlier. While other people's "dog stories" may bore, they are also something a great many people can relate to. Having at least one thing in common with someone gives an opening for understanding and friendship. When they bark at annoying times of day and night, they stretch your tolerance not just for them but for others. Taking care of them when they get sick helps build a sense of empathy with other living things. As a whole I believe they have a positive effect on our lives.

Yeah, they can be a real bother but, I don't regret having them. At least not when they are behaving.