This comes as news to no one, but breakups can make for some of the hardest times in a person’s life. The heartache, the vulnerability—all of it can feel overwhelming without the help of some time, distance, and close friendships. For anyone with a doggie in their life, that friendship can prove to be one of the most valuable at a time like this! Offering unconditional love and affection, as well as a few good examples of how to make it through just about anything, your canine companion can be there for you in more ways than you realize. Here are just a few!
16 They make the best cuddle partners
OK, so we’ve got our bestie for venting, our therapist for crying, and that perky-despite-being-drenched-in-sweat spin class instructor to silently hate through those 45 second jumps. That leaves one furry friend who’s always down to snuggle up when we get home. Plus, they’re just better at cuddling than your ex ever was. I mean, were his ears this soft? I highly doubt it!
15 They can teach us to forgive
If you’re on the Internet reading this, you’re likely no stranger to the tear-jerking animal rescue videos at 2am game, so I’ll spare you the details. Evidence that dogs can be forgiving despite the most horrific of circumstances is out there, and it goes to show that, we too, can someday forgive those who have hurt our hearts.
14 They get us out of the house
When I find myself stuck underneath the heavy weight that is a terrible breakup, the last thing I want to do is go out in public, as that would require me to leave the safety of my nest of blankets. Because dogs have to go outside, having one during this difficult time ensures at least a few outings a day, however brief they may be. It’s amazing what good a little fresh air does for one’s health and perspective.
13 They provide the ultimate lessons in self-care
Nevermind getting dolled up, breakups can make for a hard time to remember to stay on top of self-care basics, like eating enough, staying hydrated, and getting plenty of rest. When I wake up, I’m always reminded to have a good stretch, followed by a nice, big drink of water, thanks to my dog’s example. It’s the little things like this can can make a hard time just a little bit easier.
12 They are always good for a laugh
Dogs are funny, end of story. If you don’t believe me, just Google “dog fetch fails” and see if you aren’t totally convinced.
11 They’re always there when we need someone to lean on
And by “lean on” I obviously mean 'bury our crying, drooling, snot-producing mess of a face' into. Dogs allow us to really just let it all out. Apparently created by angels as some type of pillow/blanket hybrid, these fluffy friends know when we need a shoulder to lean on, and they’re (usually) happy to support us in our time of need.
10 They make the best buddies to marathon and entire TV series with
Plowing through all six seasons of The Mindy Project doesn’t feel so unproductive when you’ve got a friend there to share the blame with.
9 They’ll make you commit to your work out
To put it simply, dogs need exercise in order to be the best dog they can be. Too much pent up energy and they either destroy everything in your tiny apartment or shut down entirely in a serotonin-deficient depression. There’s no better way to get in a regular workout routine than with your dog. It can elevate your heart rate and your mood, and get your mind off your ex, even if just for a few, much-needed moments.
8 They are truly, fully non-judgemental
I once made one of those pointy-cup Madonna bras out of toilet paper rolls and my dog just sort of looked at me like, “so are we having cheese for dinner again tonight, or what?” They really don’t care what you’re wearing, how long it’s been since you’ve showered, or the fact that the only food in your house is whatever Taco Bell you weren’t able to finish the night before (like that’s even possible.) Dogs allow us total freedom to just be us, an invaluable gift at such a vulnerable time as a breakup.
7 They remind us to get some rest
When I’m caught up in the downward spiral of a breakup, the hardest times for me tend to be those moments alone, with nothing but my thoughts to accompany me. So I stay up late. I YouTube, I Netflix, and to the detriment of my sanity, I Facebook. Then I look over at my sleeping, snoring pup and realize I could turn off the insanity box that is my laptop and indulge in some sweet slumber of my own.
6 They encourage us to take the day off
There’s a time to pull it together, dust yourself off, and just deal with stuff, and then there’s those days when you just gotta phone it in, or risk owing every single person you come into contact with an apology. Just like how your canine companion sometimes “conveniently” forgets what the hell “sit” means when the sidewalk is wet and rainy, you’re allowed to take a personal day if you’ve got one.
5 They remind us to treat ourselves
It’s really easy to forget to treat ourselves to something extra special from time to time. Luckily for anyone with a dog, we learn that it’s possible to not to anything unless the promise of a treat awaits, so thank goodness for that. There’s no time like a breakup to indulge in a warm bath, a nice dinner, a long hike in the woods—whatever you need to do to unwind and take care of yourself.
4 They can force us to socialize
This probably sounds like a nightmare for anyone just wanting to hide from the world and cry all day, but, social animals that we are, being around other mammals of the same species meets an important part of our emotional requirements, and dogs need some of their own as well.
Taking your pooch for a trip to the dog run could make for the social interaction you might be needing, because spending all day in your head is rarely a good idea, especially when your heart is aching. Also, you’ll likely just end up talking about your dog with someone who also loves dogs, and what crazy dog-person doesn’t love an opportunity like that!
3 They show us how to accept what is
As creatures blessed with the ability to truly, fully live in the moment, dogs seem able to accept life as it comes at them, good or bad. They tend to not take things personally, however unfair it might seem that. For example, if they don’t get to eat an entire ball of mozzarella cheese in one bite—oh, the horror!—they just move on to beg for the next thing. We can move on too. It probably hurts, but it’s not always personal, as hard as that may be to understand in the moment.
2 They teach us to set boundaries
There’s the dog that humps every single dog at the park, and there’s the dog that does not hesitate to let that little guy know when he needs to BACK OFF. These are called boundaries, and setting them can help us while we’re giving ourselves the time and self-care we need to get through a tough spot. Setting boundaries allows us to get what we need in order to be our best self. If being humped by a stranger in the park happens to be your thing, however, well than you just keep doing you, girl, no judgements here!
And a bonus point for when you’re coming out of the darkness!
1 They make for an excellent judge of character
You know how your dog will sometimes bark at someone and you have to be like “I’m so sorry, she never does that!" That’s because that person is creeping her out, and presents a threat. You can learn from this when you start moving on and are looking to get out there and dating again. Giving people a chance is one thing, but ignoring red flags is something else. Listen to your canine companion, she knows what’s up, and she only wants the best for her best friend!