The Emotional Healing Offered By Dogs

· March 29, 2016

Many of us are tired of all the empty words. Tired of the glances that try to hide some feeling instead of fighting to express it all at once. We are tired of advice, of reprimands, of critique, of rare kisses, and of hugs given out of obligation.

In this society, we try to form relationships with one another in the best way possible; we learn a lot about relationships, but we have forgotten to show unconditional affection. We’ve forgotten how to show passion and loyalty without caring about everyone’s past. We have forgotten that the only way to love someone is to open our hearts as if we had never been hurt.

If you only haltingly give your heart, you will only receive the same kind of limited love. This is why some of us never stop melting when a dog looks at us. Our eyes keep tearing up and our chests tighten with emotion as we remember one of those furry angels who walked with us through a hard time, but who is no longer with us.

There are so many moments that dogs have given me and they are all so good and pure that the only thing that comes to mind is for us to give thanks and fondly remember their time in this world. For many of us, dogs are pure souls that do not need to speak, for their displays of loyalty and infinite affection are the most beautiful language that most of us have ever heard.

Girl Petting Dog

The moment when we adopt, are given, or buy a dog, we assume a commitment and a responsibility, but we have nothing to fear, because grooming them, feeding them, and taking care of them will be a paltry effort in exchange for all the kindness that they give us. A while back, I read this anonymous story that I would like to share and that perfectly summarizes the reason for their existence and the example they set for us:

Have you ever asked yourself why dogs don’t live as long as people?

Being a veterinarian, I was called to examine a 10-year-old Irish bloodhound named Belker. The dog’s owners – Ron, his wife Lisa, and their son Shane – were very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and discovered that he was dying of cancer. I told his family that we could not do anything for Belker, and I offered to administer the euthanasia procedure in their house.


We made the necessary preparations, Ron and Lisa said that it would be a good idea for the 6-year-old boy Shane to observe what happened. They felt that Shane could learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt that familiar sensation in my throat when Belker was surrounded by his family. Shane looked calm, was petting the dog for the last time, and I wondered if he understood what was happening. In a few minutes, Belker fell into a calm sleep that he would never wake up from.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition with no difficulty or confusion. We all sat there for a moment, sadly wondering why the lives of our pets is so much shorter than that of humans.
Shane, who had been listening attentively, said, “I know why.”

Surprised, we all turned to look at him. What he said after that amazed me. I have never heard a more comforting explanation than that one. This moment changed my way of seeing life.

He said, “People come into the world so that they can learn how to live a good life, how to love others all the time, and how to be good people, right?”

“Well, since dogs already know how to do all of that, they don’t need to stay around as long as we do.”

This story simplifies the truth of the relationship between dogs and human beings. Both of us came into this world blessed with feelings and the desire to be happy. Dogs practice limitless love and do not hold any grudges. They only draw close or distance themselves according to how you treat them. We people, however, obtain an endless amount of knowledge so that we can save our feelings for different reasons.

Some say that dogs do not have a soul, others that they do not understand, that they are just “animals.” However, we seem to understand everything and sometimes we act without a soul, without compassion, and without understanding. So do not listen to those who say that they are stupid animals and that they could never give you the affection that you need, that a dog’s affection could never be compared with that of a person.

Girl and Dog

We do not mean to say that people are not able to give love. We do it very well when we want to, but a dog will always give you love, and their irritation or bad moods will never cause you emotional suffering.

If you go through a bad time in life, sit down and let a dog look at you and pet it. Maybe you cannot have it in your house, but you can look for their companionship by working in an animal shelter. You will be giving aid and receiving the purest therapy that most of us have ever tried.

I hope that my dog has had a good life; mine was better with him by my side

When you remember moments that you shared with your dog, you feel nothing but peace and nostalgia. You could be going through an endless number of problems in your life, but they would never stop licking your face and looking at you with loyalty. These memories are the purest ones in our hearts and the healing of his companionship is a treasure that you will cherish for the rest of your life.

There are situations when words fail us: it is just a matter of contemplating, being with them, and petting. Pure love. Unconditional love. Sincere love.

“I just hope that the die I die, all the dogs that were with me in this life will receive me with barking and wagging tails, and I will say, ‘Thank God, I’m in Heaven!’”

-Antonio Clement-