Having a dog has significantly helped our marriage and family life. I know, that seems rather odd to say, doesn’t it? But it’s true. Bane’s presence in our life has improved it.
Matt and I both grew up with dogs. We always had a dog in pretty much all of our childhood memories.
I was roughly 18 months old when my dad brought home Brandy, our collie mix. I grew up with that dog, she “nannied” us, protected us from harm. I’m sure my little sister and I both learned to walk by grasping her long fur. Brandy would protect us when we played outside. She would herd us away from the creek. She tirelessly was at our side. She walked us to the bus stop in the morning and picked us up from it in the afternoon.
When Brandy died, I was about ten years old. I remember she disappeared for a few days. Dad found her in the rockbed by the creek, still breathing but barely. She was old. A trip to the vet proved she was dying – liver failure, old age. Dad and Mom made the painful decision to put her to sleep and ease her suffering. We cried a lot over the loss of Brandy.
It was a few years before my parents brought home another dog. We missed Brandy still, but we were ready to love another furry legged friend. My parents brought home two dogs this time, Shadow and Savannah. They were lab boarder collie mixes. Shadow was black with white patches, and resembled Bane. Savannah was yellow and looked more lab than anything. Savannah was an instigator and would lead Shadow on adventures away from home. They always returned, except one day…Shadow returned alone. Savannah had gotten picked up by the pound and adopted out pretty much the next day. My parents let Savannah stay in her new home after learning that she had a new little girl who desperarely needed her.
Shadow was a part of our life for many wonderful years. He was my protector and defender. Shadow was extremely protective over me, and those feelings of protectiveness increased every surgery I would have. He would lay at the foot of the couch or bed while I recovered, accompanying me on any journeys I made to the bathroom, encouraging me to move with his gentle brown eyes and wagging tail. He died from old age outside my bedroom door years later, when his gentle heart gave out, a year before I met Matt.
Matt has many stories of the dogs he grew up with too. We both knew that we would end up getting a dog, because we wanted our kids to have the same kind of memories. A dog just enriches everything. A dog helps your mental well being, too. I’m not even sure why, but it’s true. I’ve been less anxious and depressed with him around. When I have a bad day, having him around makes it easier. Watching my kids and our dog together just eases my chaotic mind. Plus, we are more active as a whole. We were active before, but now we’re REALLY active. With the kids and the dog teaming up on us to get out and enjoy life, it’s impossible not to.
Having a dog has improved our marriage because we make more time for each other, and have more patience for one another. Having Bane has helped with both of our anxiety and depression, and that translates directly into our marriage.
Plus…there’s something to be said about watching your kids interact with their dog too.
A floppy eared, wagging tail companion that joins you on adventures, fights dragons with you and is your best friend. Every kid needs that.
Dogs are just undeniably happy. They’re happy to see you, happy to get attention from you, just happy. Everything makes them happy…the simpliest things. A walk. Couch cuddles. Food of any kind. Company.
That rubs off on a person.
So yes, I would definitely say that having a dog has improved our marriage and family life. Life is more enriched, more enjoyable with a four legged companion joining us on family adventures.