As soon as I stole one glance in his direction, I knew I’d love him forever. He looked at me from the corner of his eye and I was sure he was feeling the same way. I was so excited because I didn’t know if I could ever feel that way again after my last experience.

Last time I found myself deeply in love from the very beginning and it lasted for a very long time.

Eventually, we had to part. Life got in the way and we had to go in different directions. It was so painful for us, but I knew we were making the right decision.

He’s doing very well in his new life; I think about him almost every day and smile, and sometimes cry when feelings of missing him overcome me.

Initially, I felt guilty for feeling the way I did.

How could I love another the way I loved him?

But I do, and although I’m happy, I still feel like I’m betraying my last love. But life is about moving forward, and that’s what I knew I needed to do.

Yes, I had to let go of my Golden Retriever after eleven years to let him live in a home with many others to play with, in the country with the freedom of running around a large and expansive property. We were moving across the country into a condo, and I knew he wouldn’t be happy there; he deserved so much more.

He now lives with four other dogs and a huge extended human family. I couldn’t be happier for him! So it remains bitter-sweet.

Sometimes doing the right thing is the hardest thing to do.

I needed to wait a few years before I could move forward with a healed heart and begin another loving relationship with a dog, but the wait is now over.

Sitting here on my lap, as write to you, is a new family member, a French Bulldog named Benson. I couldn’t love deeper or wider. He’s already jumped into my heart.

My son has always loved these dogs, and I wondered how, after owning such a gloriously beautiful Retriever, anyone could possibly love a face that looked like that??

Well, I’m here to say that it’s not only possibly, if you give it five minutes, it’s inevitable!

Now you may feel differently, but the main point I’d like to make in this post is how the love between a human being and an animal is something that can actually change us in positive ways.

For those who’ve been long-term pet owners, you know what I’m talking about. But for those who have avoided the kind of commitment associated with being a pet owner, well, you have part of it right.

It isn’t easy at first if you choose to adopt a puppy but the rewards are limitless. It’s kind of like deciding to have children. They say if we were to think it out logically, nobody would ever choose to have them.

It’s a commitment that requires love, and patience, especially in the beginning. But the dividends this kind of relationship pays over many years is beyond description.

Who comes home to the kind of greeting that your animal freely offers you? Every day? For the pet’s entire life?? What other being can be so happy with so little?

holdingpuppyThey teach us what’s really important in life. They don’t care if they’re wearing the latest designer collar, sweater, or are carried in a sought-after sports car or a jalopy.

They’re in heaven just being with us. But what else do they give us?

Research suggests that there are numerous health benefits associated with our animal companions, including an increase in exercise if you have the kind of animal that requires at least some each day.

My husband and I were often forced outside during the arctic-like winters we experienced in Ottawa to take our dogs out for their daily romp in the snow.

If it wasn’t for them, we’d happily remain by the fire. But once out, we were filled with energy and laughter as we watched them run and play as if they were in heaven.

For those who live alone, pets provide a type of companionship that injects a sense of belonging and meaning into one’s life.

People find they have an increased feeling of responsibility to someone other than themselves and discover a purpose they can’t imagine being without.

The deep connection fostered between owner and their pet can increase the amount of serotonin in the brain (the ‘happy’ hormone) significantly decreasing depression and anxiety. Pets can also lower the blood pressure of their owners, as well as lower stress levels (cortisol) over time.

Pets can also create opportunities for increased social engagement in the owner’s life. For example, participating in puppy training classes or agility classes, taking their dog to the park where they interact with other pet owners, walking to the local market they’re surrounded by people.

Nothing attracts attention like a happy pet! We usually can’t help but smile; owners and observers alike. Pets usually make us better people. They pull us out of ourselves when we become too self-involved or lose perspective about what’s most important in this life.

So, there are several reasons to take on the responsibility and commitment of becoming a pet owner. It’s worthy of consideration given the many benefits. I know is what it’s done for me to have a pet to love and care for.

I now feel fulfilled with this new little being who’s entered my life and who looks to me to take care of his needs as they arise.

What will he bring me? Well, it would take his whole life and more to thank him for the many gifts, as is the case for my country-loving dog.

Take a moment and consider whether you might also yearn for a love deeper than the ocean…