Because dogs

As it has for many, this week has been emotional for me. I’ve considered a whole range of topics for this post: grief, helplessness, a defense of social media, the healing power of nature, the many ways to measure a life. I even started writing a couple of those posts, but then one morning, my goofball dog Lexi made me laugh mid-cry, and I decided to instead write a list of excellent facts about dogs. I know, it has nothing to do with anything, but dogs are wonderful, and sweet, and uncomplicated, and I think maybe I’m not the only one who could use a little break from life’s bigger considerations today.

So, here goes.

10 Excellent Facts About Dogs

  1.  At the end of the day (and any time you enter or reenter the room they’re in), dogs are always happy to see you. Even if you screwed up at work, or didn’t sell, or didn’t get published. Even if no one liked, or retweeted, or LOL’d you, your dog welcomes you home as if you’re the best damn human in the world. And who doesn’t want to be the best damn human in the world for a few minutes each day?
  2. Dogs are excellent listeners. (And – bonus! – they don’t care at all if you cry into their fur.)
  3. Dogs are always fully present. You  never have to worry that they’re sitting with you but thinking about someone else they’d rather be sitting with. (They might be sitting with you and thinking about dinner, but that happens whenever they breathe. They can’t help it. Inhale, exhale, think about dinner. It’s like that.)
  4. Dogs get an amazing amount of information by sniffing each other’s butts. One sniff and they can tell the gender, reproductive status, health, diet and emotional state of the dog who owns the butt they’re sniffing. Yes, it’s gross, but it’s also impressive.
  5. Dogs make excellent workout buddies. With their excuses, and whining, and tendency to prefer the couch and television over all other activities, humans can be pretty disappointing workout buddies. Dogs, by contrast, are always ready to walk (or run, or fetch, or wrestle, or roll around in the excrement of other animals).
  6. Dogs are very inclusive. They don’t care about your race, gender, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status. They care if you scratch them behind their ears. It’s that easy to be accepted into the pack.
  7. Dogs are way, way, way better than squirrels. (Lexi asked that I include that. She also asked me to impress upon you the absolute indisputability of that fact.)
  8. Dogs are the best kind of foodies, because no matter how crappy a cook you are, they love everything you make for them.
  9. Dogs make excellent alert, service, and therapy companions. (Squirrels, on the other hand, are spectacularly bad at being helpful.)
  10. Dogs are the Zen masters of unconditional love.

Enjoy your weekend, you guys. Find a bit of beauty in the world.




  1. Toni on March 13, 2015 at 3:00 am

    Wow, did I need this today. Thank you so much for always sharing something that’s perfect. The last few weeks have been absolutely miserable… Death, pain, stress… And you’ve just reminded me that I have two dogs I can cuddle with who can help me start to make things better. I knew it before, but I just forgot in all the chaos. I don’t often comment, but I always read and appreciate everything you share from your generous heart. Thank you!

    • j on March 13, 2015 at 6:22 am

      Thank you back, Toni. That means more than you know. xox

  2. Nina Badzin on March 13, 2015 at 3:26 am

    Well, it’s not about nothing– it’s about joy and love–and that is really perfect for this week with such a loss.

    • j on March 13, 2015 at 6:23 am

      True. Dogs are so very good at joy and love. Thank you Nina.

  3. Lucy Pollard-Gott on March 13, 2015 at 4:01 am

    Thanks for this, J! Even for those of us who don’t have a dog in our family, dogs are a blessed part of the world and all you say brings a smile of recognition and warmth even to me. Since I can’t have a living, breathing, drooling, sniffing friend in my home, at least I can have your wonderful drawings which evoke the inner essence of dog-ness.

    • j on March 13, 2015 at 6:26 am

      “The inner essence of dog-ness.” That made me smile. Best use of my doodle talents ever! <3

  4. juliafehrenbacher on March 13, 2015 at 7:37 am

    Oh, J. I sure wish I could come up with more ways to say “I love you” from afar.

    I swear, whenever I bend down to love on/hug/whisper sweet “you are so beautiful’s” into my dog, Lucky’s fur, I think of you, because I know you adore dogs as much as I do…specifically your Lexi and my Lucky. I’m sure they would be the best butt-sniffing friends ever if they were introduced.

    Your dog doodles are ridiculously adorable and sweet and capture such doggy cuteness essence.

    This doggy post filled me up and made me smile and lightened me up all at once. Something only J’s brilliant genius beauty could have done…

    LOVE galore,


    • j on March 13, 2015 at 7:59 am

      Thank you, Julia! This doggy post filled me up too. It wound up being the exact right thing for me to do. And I love the word “galore.” I’m going to start saying more. : )

      Big giant hugs to you and Lucky, from me and Lexi. (We humans have to settle for the information we can glean from hugs.) xo

  5. lunajune on March 13, 2015 at 7:39 am

    dogs have gotten me through every terrible thing in my life… with the reminder to be here now
    to get up and lets go look at the trees, for squirrels LOL
    to go, just go, you never know what we might find on our walk

    yup dogs are true zen masters…. be here now
    thankful for every lesson they have given me

    you did them proud with your post <3
    I've been sick most of this week but still had to go feed cats for a client
    and just the other day when I left like a bag of crap, around the corner came this big
    goofy goldendoodle an instantly he recognized me and he lite up like a christmas tree
    a big smile, a big tail wag, in the moment, even from across the street he made my day
    love shared… no matter from where, is still love

    big wags and smiles and hugs from here to there <3

    • j on March 13, 2015 at 7:23 pm

      Aw, I love that story. And I love how dog happiness is so contagious to us susceptible humans. <3

  6. Pam on March 13, 2015 at 7:46 am


    I appreciate your choice of illustration for the butt-sniffing fact. You are correct–just because it’s a fact doesn’t mean you have to draw it! 🙂

    • j on March 13, 2015 at 7:25 pm

      I’m a responsible sort of illustrator. ; )

  7. Annie Neugebauer (@AnnieNeugebauer) on March 13, 2015 at 7:52 am

    Awww! Thanks for the smile! 😀

    • j on March 13, 2015 at 7:25 pm

      You’re welcome. Thank you back, Annie.

  8. Cabocalla on March 13, 2015 at 8:37 am

    Maybe every day we should ask ourselves, “What would dog do?”

    • j on March 13, 2015 at 7:26 pm

      If we did, there would be a lot less general meanness, I think.

  9. Lance on March 13, 2015 at 10:28 am

    I didn’t know Lisa but a lot of people I do know, love and respect (you included), did. Hugs to everyone.

    We call our 9-year-old golden retriever Buddy our “son”. He;s everything you’ve listed.

    • j on March 13, 2015 at 7:28 pm

      I have to say, Buddy is gorgeous. And giant. I love him from afar. (Thank you for the hug, Lance. xo)

  10. leah77 on March 13, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    J. This is why I love you. You “get” doggy love, which I happen to be addicted to. I sooo loved your illustrations. LOL! Thanks for making me smile.

    • j on March 13, 2015 at 7:30 pm

      You’re welcome, Leah. I not only get doggy love, I’m afflicted. Lexi’s asleep on my left foot… which is also, at this point, asleep. ; )

  11. Danielle on March 28, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    I am in terrible despair for too many reasons and cannot take care of my beautiful Betsy (Australian Shepperd, 4 yrs old). Just now, I called the person who takes care of her when I need to go away to ask her if she knew anyone who would take her.

    Then, I just read your thoughts on dogs (I subscribed only yesterday)!!

    Thank you! You are right, she is so completely into me…no one ever was…

    Danielle xx

  12. j on March 28, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    Danielle, I’m so sorry for your despair. I don’t know if it would be at all helpful, but I’m doing a project his year called 52 Weeks; 52 Ways to Love Your (wild) Self. It’s based on an e-guide I wrote, but you don’t need the guide to participate. Each week, I send an email that talks about the week we just did, and the assignment for the week ahead. Let me know if you’d like me to to add you to that email list. It’s totally okay if you’re not into that right now, I understand.

    In any case, sending you lots of love and good wishes. And hugs for your puppy too.

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