It is said that the outside of a dog is good for the inside of a person. I'm pretty sure this is true for most people, or at least people who appreciate what they have in the dogs that live with them. My dogs do cause me stress sometimes, mostly when they steal enough cat food to make me to worry about bloat, or disappear into the woods for 10 minutes looking for a deer they'll never catch, or stealing Esme's food, or flossing with the laces off an old shoe. These things are minor stresses compared to what they offer me on a daily basis as they breathe through their lives.
I provide the dogs with food, shelter, warmth, a soft bed, the (more than) occasional dog treat, walks everyday, and whatever love I am able to express in my feeble human way. They give back not only everything within their power but more than I will ever deserve.
Earlier tonight I was sitting on my (their) futon surfing the internet and I took a moment to look around. Esme was lying on the floor in one of her usual spots, leaning up against the big comfy chair. Leeloo was in my (her) big comfy chair, impossibly squished into a Ridgeball but owning the space just the same. The Boy on my left was curled into a ball next to me on the futon, touching me just enough so we both knew we were there. Cora on my right stretched her impossibly long legs out as much as they would go and slept the deep slumber of which only a tuckered out 6 month old puppy is capable. Ceilidh, my fat cat, was sleeping on the far chair in one of her newly christened favorite spots and her best bud Weasley was behind my head on the back of the futon with two legs dangling while he dozed.
Aside from the click of the mouse the only sounds came from the deeply contented dogs and cats fast asleep in my livingroom. To say my house is full is an understatement but each animal still gets their fair share of cuddles and attention. Boy could hardly miss my notice since he is rarely more than a few feet away, even when I'm in the bathroom, but his special time is in the morning just before I get out of bed and he soaks up his cuddles. Leeloo offers me her bottom, twists into a C shape and wags her tail so hard it smacks the side of her the face and it only gets worse when I oblige by scratching her bum. Cora is as demanding as any puppy could ever be and expects, and gets, hugs and kisses whenever she looks at me. Esme can hardly be ignored with the barking and carrying on and I always oblige with praise and admiration when she is showing off her latest sock acquisition. The cats hardly need me to come to them since they all attempt to smother me whenever I sit down.
If I have a bad day, which honestly is rare these days, it doesn't take much more than stroking Leeloo's ridiculously soft coat for a few minutes, giving The Boy a hug, getting a little chin nibble from Cora, or appreciating the high pitched reception from Esme who, if she could be beside herself to see me, she would.
So given the amount of stress reducing animals in my house, it will come as no surprise that my blood pressure, on average, is 110 over 70. Breeding and showing dogs can be pretty high stress sometimes but if you take away the nonsense of competition and judgement, you are simply left with dogs who adore you.