It recently occurred to me that the majority of my friends have pets. Most share their life with a dog or two, but a few prefer cats. Some even have both.
The most recent statistics put pets in 62 percent of homes in this country, with dogs and cats making up a combined 164.6 million of those animals. Are the odds simply in favor of me having friends with one or the other, or both? Perhaps, but I believe the bond between fellow pet parents runs much deeper than mere math.
With that in mind, I put together the following five reasons — some more important than others — my best friends are dog (and/or cat) people.
1. They don’t mind dog hair or the occasional drop of drool.
Spot and Dolly have full access to my home and car. They lounge on my couches and ride in the back seat, leaving behind hundreds of dog hairs and other signs of their presence. I have industrial-size sticky rollers, as well as a pet-specific vacuum, but no tool or amount of effort on my part will get it all.
Friends with pets don’t think twice about making themselves comfortable in my home or car, allowing me to not stress about stubborn hairs during a visit or ride around town.
2. They give the best Christmas gifts.
I only exchange Christmas gifts with two families: my own and the Beams. I met Mike nearly nine years ago, when I was walking Dolly around the Houston neighborhood where we both lived. He and his wife, Heather, had just brought home a Boston Terrier puppy named Pippin. The three of us formed a bond through our dogs, and that friendship has evolved into one of my most treasured.
Our extended family now includes their human son, Ethan, and Boston Terrier brothers Grover (shown at the top of this story with Ethan) and Spot. When we decided to give Pippin and Dolly siblings, we adopted from the same litter.
Our relationship gives me so much more than Christmas gifts, but I mention them here so I can show off the cool biscuit tin they sent me a few weeks ago.
3. They often include my dogs in their invitations.
I work from home, which means my dogs don’t spend much time on their own. When friends who also have dogs include them in an invitation to their home, though, I take them up on it.
When we lived far from my parents, my friend Kim always invited us over for Thanksgiving. Spot and Dolly hung out with her dogs, Dahli and Duke, and it meant the world to have my dogs be a part of the holiday celebration, too.
4. They support me during tough times.
When Dolly was diagnosed with cancer last year, the pet people in my life checked in regularly during her treatment and provided the emotional support I needed to get through what was a painful process for her and a stressful period for me.
My friend Helen and I were both worried sick about our dogs at that time, as her Golden Retriever, Max, had a serious stomach condition that went undiagnosed for months. We shared our sadness and stress, leaning on each other while offering encouraging words and an understanding ear.
5. They don’t think I’m one of those “weird dog people.”
I love my Spot and Dolly dearly. Their photos hang on the walls of my home and Facebook profile, and I write about them regularly here on Dogster. I’m sure more than a few high school and college friends on Facebook now consider me one of those “weird dog people.” I simply don’t care. The dog (and/or cat) people in my life get me, and I get them.
In addition to the many dog people I count as best friends, I also am lucky to have family members with whom I share the pet-parent bond. My mom and dad refer to Spot and Dolly as their granddogs, and my nephew and cousins, who all have dogs of their own, treat them like the beloved members of the family they are.
What about you, readers? Does your circle of friends mostly include dog people? If so, why do you think they make the best friends? Please share in the comments!