There is no greater love than a man and his dog.

Think

of everyone you know (and everyone you don’t know) who has a pet. Now imagine them, one by one, answering this question with total honesty, “Which loved one would you choose to be stranded with on a desert island?” Half of those people just responded, “My pet.” Maybe this is because – wisely – pet owners know that their pooch’s sniffer is 14 times more sensitive than their own (the better to ferret out island edibles). Perhaps it is because pet owners experience lower stress and tend to live longer (important if it might be awhile before you are found and rescued).

Or it could just be because dogs make better companions than people. They are more loyal. They love us unconditionally. They forgive and forget oh-so-quickly.

Dogs

are hands-down better listeners and give us more support than either our partner or our kids. As a side note, this could be why 1 million+ folks in North America have named their pet as the primary beneficiary in their will and increasing numbers of young women are choosing to bring home a pup instead of popping out a baby.

And – here’s the kicker – dog parents state losing their dog would cause more pain than losing their relationship (9.1 versus 8.8 on a 10-point rating scale). All that to say, if you view your pooch as your best friend – or even as your only true friend – you share good company with increasing numbers of your fur-less human peers, whether they choose to admit it to you or not.

I will be candid. There have been more than a few times in my life when I have regarded my non-human companions as not just my best friends, but as my only friends. And to this day, whenever I travel I don’t feel like I’m “home” again until I have hugged our dachshund, kissed my parrot and rubbed my baby tortoise’s soft neck skin.

People hugs are great. Pet hugs are…essential.

Today

with nearly two-thirds of us sharing our home with both people and pets, it is fairly (really) safe to say lots of us feel the same way. On that note, if you keep a budget, you are no doubt aware that your pet-related spending at times far outpaces the actual available time you have to spend with your dog.

Like most pooch parents, you likely have to work long hours since vet visits don’t come cheap. And, of course, your deserving canine must also have the safest and strongest play toys, comfiest blankets and bed, cutest collars and leashes, and the tastiest, healthiest treats, each of which takes another healthy chunk out of your dwindling paycheck.

For

that matter, if you take more care with reading the ingredients lists for your dog’s food than you do when selecting your own, you join the rest of us who wouldn’t dream of feeding a chocolate Girl Scout cookie to our dog, only to turn around and pop one or a box-full into our own wide-open drooling jaws.

Our pups are just that important to us. Our health….eh. Their health….vital.

There is so much to recommend having a pooch as your bestie….too much to list all the reasons here.

Here are 10 of my all-time favorite reasons why I love dogs.

Feel free to add your own in the comments section below!

1. My dog just might save my life someday. Dogs are now being hailed as one of the most reliable early warning tests to detect cancer, tumors, fainting spells, epileptic fits and other potentially lethal health issues.

2. My dog loves me. Period, the End. I might not even love myself, not even a little, but my dog will still love me unconditionally and 24/7. It’s what dogs do.

3. My dog will wait for me forever. He won’t go get a new bestie when work sends me halfway around the globe – again. He also won’t break up with me for the hottie one desk (or one Tinder click) over.

4. My dog will never “unfriend” me on Facebook…or anywhere else. ‘Nuff said.

5. My dog will listen to me for hours and never complain our conversation is one-sided. I can cuss, scream, yell, cry, giggle, rant, and rave – my dog is always eager to hear more of my pearls of wisdom (oh, and my dog will also never turn around and gossip to everyone else about what I just told him in confidence!)

6. My dog will get me to work out when no one and nothing else can. I may neglect my own fitness resolutions visibly, overtly, consciously and daily. But neglect to walk and play with my dog? NEVER.

7. My dog helps my heart stay healthy. Petting my dog lowers my blood pressure, like, instantly. Just looking at pictures of my dog lowers my blood pressure. In fact, even thinking of my dog while the nurse takes my blood pressure, well…let’s just say I don’t tell my doc about that little trick.

8. My dog is my own personal “Mirror, Mirror.” Bedhead. Zits. Rash. Bloating. Weight gain. Flu. Bad breath. Gas. It all goes away when my dog looks at me. To him, I am always 100%, undeniably and totally the most beautiful.

9. My dog keeps me safe. Okay, so our family cohabitates with dachshunds. They may not be the tallest or mightiest of breeds, but let me tell you, they are GREAT at biting ankles – and they never let go until the threat is gone (and we all know it is gone because it is beating a swift retreat with a petite snarling wiener dog following in fast pursuit)!

10. My dog is always up for whatever. If there is one being I can count on to be on point and enthused about whatever it is I want to do – even if it is just lying on the sofa together for (yet another) restful mid-day nap – it is my dog. I don’t even have to ask, “Hey do you wanna?” and he is already there.

There is no greater love than a man and his dog.