No Therapy Like Dog Therapy

Who could not smile at leaping Doobie, who learned to play.

Over the years, my life has taken some bumpy turns; I have been in some not so happy places. Different times, different circumstances: always one constant. Always present were my unfailingly affectionate and loyal dogs , guiding me on my way to better times. Not the same dogs over the years, to be sure, but always at least one dog.  When I felt poorly we took to the back roads, wooded trails, rivers, streams and forests. I was often at my happiest when it was just me and the dogs. There is no therapy like dog therapy.

 In recent months, my life has changed for the greater good, a new beginning.  A recent morning hike with my partner Argil and the three lab “kids” caused me to comment on the “all is good with life”  endorphin release, caused reflection on how great it was just to be out walking. We enjoyed the dogs, did some training along the way, laughed at their individual antics and traits, very much focused on our furry companions as we hiked along. I am very fortunate to have found someone who enjoys the labbie trio as much as I do.

 Feeling good around dogs is not coincidence. Their furry selves have proven, in many walks of life, to inspire warm and fuzzy feelings, in fact the same stuff of mothers bonding with newborn infants. Thought to be responsible for this is the hormone oxcytocin, as related in the Psychology Today article “Dog Good.

Personally, I feel I am as strongly bonded to my dogs, as I am to human friends. Hopefully they will not feel insulted should they read this; it is, after all, the oxcytocin working upon me.We also enjoy the canines in our lives with all of our senses, employed daily as we interact with them, and a continuous form of therapy as well.


        Who has not buried their face in the fur of a family canine, and been comforted by the familiar doggy smell?  And puppy breath, a smell that all dog lovers adore.


      Silly antics, goofy Bridget faces, eyes watching eyes,  observing play, three labs running cross country: a daily show of all that makes us smile.


        Snoring,(Talley),  happy growly play noises, ecstatic whining, the padding of doggy paws behind you around the house, groaning whiney  sleepy noises (Talley).


        A silky ear under the hand, a warm body curled up next to yours,(Doobie, champion snuggler),  warmth of contact as you groom and stroke, a dog leaning into you. 


      Smell is strongly connected to taste, in that one can nearly taste milky puppy breath. Doggy kisses? Yes, often the lick our faces and our mouths. Not everyone is so happy about the latter, although Talley believes regular face washings are necessary.


Dogs always have been, and will continue to be, an integral part of my life. Without them, I would not be whole. Talley, Doobie and Bridget: each so unique, each so necessary. There is no therapy like dog therapy.