Dogs Are the Key to Single Momma Happiness
Dogs are the best. They just are.
Lola (a.k.a. Roo) was the sweetest and prettiest doe-eyed fluff ball anyone could ask for and as a single mother, she was my lifesaver. She came to our family as a rescue from the Mojave Desert and ended up rescuing us. We were skeptical when she showed up as a still wild, two-year-old German Shepherd/Husky “puppy” the size of a small man who may have developed a little brain damage under the hot sun before she showed up at our door. It turned out she was everything we didn’t know we needed and she’d be one of the best parts of our life for the next 11 years.
My dog made my days better, even when she pissed me off. She was the hairiest K9 beast the world has ever seen – her shedding killed vacuums like a vampire slayer. She was bad…very, very bad. She ate the garbage, pulled recycling out to the yard like pirate booty, confiscated butter off the counter, chewed fence posts, dug holes and ran away occasionally just to make us chase her. She was a severe pain in the ass. Even at her worst, she was better than I am. Your dog is probably better than you are, too – if you have a pup, you probably already know this.
For those of you not in the know, here are five key reasons dogs are the absolute best thing for your health and happiness. If you’re a single mom like I am, this list is just that much more important.
If you’re a parent with a child over the age of five, you’ve likely already stumbled onto the reality that children aren’t created to make you feel loved. To the rest of you, sorry to burst your bubble. Sure, they’ll dish out the sappy feelings now and then but at some point they’ll tell you they hate you and there will be days when parenting is literally the hardest and most thankless job on the planet. You know what’s not super hard and thankless? Your dog.
Rover will be happy to see you even when your kids think you suck. Your little buddy is always thankful when you fill the water bowl or hand out the treats. They have an inherent ability to sense and comfort you when you’re sick or sad and I’ve never seen a dog turn down some butt-scratching affection. If you want unconditional love, the dog in your life is where you’ll find it.
Whether you have a yippy little Poodle or a Doberman, just having a dog in the house makes you feel safer. That Chihuahua of yours may not look like much to contend with but it will sound off like an ADT alarm at anyone who should not be near your family. If you’re keen on the larger breeds, the intruder deterrent goes without saying. That oversized teddy bear of yours may just roll over and beg for belly rubs, but the sketchy guy looking in your window probably won’t take that chance.
Feeling like you can keep your kids protected is a big deal for a single mother and having a dog in the house is a pretty sure bet you’ll feel safer at nights.
I once heard someone say you should walk your dog every day even if you don’t have a dog. Getting out with your friend on a leash is good exercise for both of you – it’s also a good excuse to just get out of the house and take a breath. Some decompression time for momma is a good thing for everyone, trust me. But dogs benefit human health in a variety of ways: They lower your blood pressure, decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease and basically extend your life expectancy. A few chewed up heels is a small price to pay for a healthier you.
Listen, if you’re a single mom, you know damn well what it feels like to be lonely. Even in a chaotic house full of kids screaming for juice or beating each other with video game controllers, that loneliness can seep in when the lights turn off. The importance of maintaining friendships as an adult can’t be overstated, but those friends become detrimental when you’re a single mother. Friends, of the two- or four-legged species, help soften that loneliness. The companionship you have at home with your buddy can be just enough to keep you from seeking out bad relationships out of desperation for some affection. Dogs make us more whole and therefore less stupid when it comes to dating – it’s true.
Rescue for good karma
Bringing a pup into your life will do wonders for you and your family but giving a rescue dog a happy home is immeasurable on the good deed scale. There are far too many animals just waiting in shelters for someone like you to come along – they’re just begging to be loved and love you back. It’s the best give-and-take scenario you’ll probably ever encounter and it’s as easy as opening up your heart and your home – the dog will do the rest.
Check out Rocket Dog Rescue as a starting point if you want to begin the journey to a better, healthier, happier you today.
This is dedicated to my beautiful best friend, Lola Roo, who kept this single momma sane and loved for 11 years. Rest in peace, sweet girl. As Tennyson said:
“Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”