Happiness … is a dog …

Happiness.  The dictionary defines it as the act of being happy.  What does that mean?  I think most humans seek it.  I think Oprah has made millions telling us how to achieve it.  But in the final analysis,  it is a mighty ephemeral butterfly to catch.  Or is it?

In the play “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,”  there is a song called “Happiness.”  It sings about the simple joys of life that often go unnoticed.  I think that now, maybe more then ever, the message of this song is so important.

So what does this have to do with dogs?  I find my happiness in the company of dogs.  I think an awful lot of us do.  I think that we find a way to work dogs in to everything from movies to rescue missions because our relationship with this noble creature fulfills us in more ways then we will ever understand.

For me, dogs are my foundation.  From very early on, they have been steadfast and non-judgmental of my human foibles.

That would be me ... with Blackie and her pup Tippy. Tippy was our first family dog, 1961 or so.
That would be me … with Blackie and her pup Tippy. Tippy was our first family dog. 1961 or so.

In 1979, fresh out of college and living in my first duplex apartment, I knocked on my neighbor’s door.  With a shaking voice and tears in my eyes, I asked her if I could take care of that miniature apricot poodle she had chained to her back porch.  Alexandria was her adored companion, until she had a baby and kicked the dog out to fend for herself.   That moment gave me purpose.  No more did I hit the area bars after work … nope, I had a soul waiting on me.  I had a dog to walk.  I had a ball of fur that actually was glad to see me.  I had an anchor to the sense of belonging I needed.

Alexandria, on right, was my first rescue. Here she is with her son, Tigger. 1981
Alexandria, on right, was my first rescue. Here she is with her son, Tigger. 1981

I know that a lot of people don’t connect to dogs.  Some have never known a dog, so they don’t “get” us dog people.  Some have had a bad experience and are afraid of them.  Some live in such a tidy world that they can’t stand the trappings that come with a canine companion.  I try to understand, but I fail these people.  Their thinking is beyond me because dogs bring me complete and total happiness.

I once stopped by my Doctor’s office to talk with the receptionist about setting up an appointment to discuss some breathing issues I was having.  Knowing I had dogs, she informed me that I would probably need to get rid of all animals and it was likely that they had caused me to have COPD!!  Talk about a hater!!  Needless to say, with this input, I quickly left that practice.  The diagnosis, from a real Doctor, not the prescribing receptionist, was that I am actually allergic to dogs.  In either event, the diagnosis would not have changed the status quo in my household.

Digression aside, the point is … happiness doesn’t have to be a big, gut wrenching search.  It is found living in the moment with companions that you love.  It is reaching over to hug your dog when you wake up from a bad dream.  It is taking the time to sit down and brush your dog.  It is being aware of the special bond that dogs so generously share with humans.

If this connection is missing in your life, go to http://www.PetFinder.com this very minute and start looking for the dog that needs you … because my bet is that you need him or her just as much.

Snickers and me -- in our favorite mode, watching the world go by ...
Snickers and me — in our favorite mode, watching the world go by …

Happiness is morning and evening, Daytime and nighttime too.  For happiness is anyone and anything at all, That’s loved by you. 

(from Happiness, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown)



  1. I always enjoy your insightful blogs Nancy. I remember little Alexandria and Tigger too. Thanks for inviting me to join your journey on this blog.


    • Thanks Alice. I appreciate you taking the time to be a part of my journey. I walked those little poodles all over Columbus!! The neighbors gave them vanilla wafers every evening when we walked by. Alexandria was with me till 1992. They are the foundation for a lot of dogs that followed.


  2. Dogs are the bestest. My boys take most of my stress away… even after rolling in racoon poo. Gotta love ’em 😉


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