I get a lot of flack about my dogs. There are too many, they're underfoot, they live in the house and sprawl on the furniture, they steal my expensive goat cheese, they require frequent haircuts, they eat better than most people, and they're ninjas. Why? Why, Belinda? Why do you have all those dogs? Why do they live in the house? I never quite know how to answer that last one, because I have no idea why people who keep their dogs exclusively outdoors even want to have a dog. And I'll be the first to admit that, yeah, according to most peoples' standards, I do have "too many" dogs. Could I get rid of one? Well, no. But you'll notice that I haven't added any more since the numbers have been at this level. Can't we just call that progress?
But see, last night was a bad night for me, as many nights are, lately. I was agitated, anxious, and couldn't relax and go to sleep for love or money. I was really stressed. And then, at some point, the old dog at my feet stretched out and laid her head across my legs. She breathed an enormous sigh, and with that exhalation, relaxed and sank the whole of her weight into my legs.
All at once, I felt better. Yes, just like that. I immediately felt my blood pressure lower, my heart rate slow, and my jaw unclench. I felt at peace. All the things I'd been trying in vain to achieve all day long, a dog accomplished in one well-timed breath, and I went right to sleep.
And THAT is what good dogs do, and why it's nice to have a few (or more) of them around.