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In Celebration of Dog: Why My Heart Beats Dog

My heart beats dog® so very much that I trademarked that saying. Years ago at a pet blogging conference, I approached a mural. There we stood, dozens of us, waiting to etch a sentiment about our affection for animals on a 2×3 or so piece of paper.

My heart beats dog rolled off my fingertips.

“Did you just make that up,” the gentleman behind me quipped.

“Well, yes, it’s how I feel,” I replied. “My heart beats dog.”

He told me I should trademark it. And so I did. It’s mine.

And maybe it’s your mantra, too. What does it mean to have a heart “beat” dog? I am certainly not alone in this canine cardiac rhythm.

my heart beats dog mural
Here is the actual mural and my words.

Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D, writes in her book, For the Love of a Dog, about humans and our relationship with canines, “What we share, without question, is a rich emotional life. Emotions like fear and happiness and love simmer within us, sometimes bubbling to the surface, always linking us together. The glass of our shared experience may be half empty, but that means it’s half full. How lucky we are that it’s a big glass, and that, most of the time, the liquid is sweet and good.”

We are creatures united by emotions: Our dogs share a rainbow of feelings with us, their human companions.  Dogs have the propensity to feel many of the same emotions humans do. It’s even written about in big-name journals such as Psychology Today. But…

Celebrating the life of a dogs

Dogs Aren’t People

Of all of the criticisms my writings have received over the years, none has set off a firestorm of vitriol and unimaginable hatred in response to dubbing myself a dog mom.

I know that dogs are not people. Though I consider myself a dog mom, I know that my dog isn’t a child. If the fates honor me with my dog-sharing life for a solid 15 years or more, unlike a teenager at age 15, my dog isn’t asking for the car keys, won’t enter the dating world, and will never become a source of gray hair as I worry because he is out 10 minutes past curfew. His time is getting limited, at this ripe old age.

We humanize our dogs and transfer people-like notions and emotions upon them because we want to believe they are just like us. They are us, an extension of us. They live for us. Their way of being in the world is much different than ours, friends. They ask for so little and give the very little they have to us. They live in our world, after all. When there’s not enough room for all of them, at least 5 million or so times a year, we end their lives. Indeed, dogs are not people. Dogs would make room for every last one of us.

Dogs Rejoice With Us

The next time you see your dog, be really super happy. Send a shot of exuberance into the universe and make your dog a part of it. In an entire life of being with, around, and in the company of dogs, it is this writer’s observation that joy unites dog to human more than any other emotion. Joy comes in many forms, and dogs take it all in. Tails tell tales, even those with nubs or none at all. A dog lets you know when he’s happy. Be calm with your dog, be at peace with your dog, spend quality time with your dog, and not just today. If it takes a national proclamation to shine a spotlight into a dog’s soul, then let it be today. May the world echo a big “aroooooo” for all those dogs we have loved and lost: past, present, today, and tomorrow.

Dogs are more like us than not but they are not humans. Dogs are the best of us when the worst of us breaks our hearts and lets us down.

Carol and Dexter Bryant

Canines Across Continents

Go ahead and Google “Carol Bryant dog mom” or “Carol Bryant dog lover” and that’s me, in all my SEO-optimized glory. My heart beats dog and its lub dub cadence crosses Internets and such. Asia knows I love dogs and New Zealand knows, too. I’m pretty sure Tokyo knows, and Great Britain adores my dog beating heart. Dogs cross oceans, form bridges, soar over barriers, and unite us as the people we are meant to be: Pure, kind, loving, and unconditionally human.

A Heart That Beats Dog

I embrace a passion for dogs and that passion somehow in this crazy, messed up universe so very perfectly found its way to me. A little girl once lost found her forever home in dogs.

My life is a celebration of dog and their time on Earth, a mere flicker. Poof, we blink and it’s gone. A heart that beats dog is all too keenly aware of its ability to break, and oh how it shatters. What began as a veterinary visit ended with a puddle of the former me on a floor as my dog made her journey from this life into the ever after. That pink-filled needle ended her suffering and catapulted mine.

Dogs bring us such joy

Every day is Christmas with a dog. It’s a true celebration, a present waiting to be unwrapped every day. Cliche, but true.There’s a secret unspoken club for us dog lovers of the highest order. On fortunate days, we find each other: At parks, pet-welcoming stores, on vacations, and at traffic lights. Dogs sniff, we smile. Ages are exchanged, stories are passed on, and dogs bring strangers together, even for a moment.

“He’s 12 and he’s my baby.”

“I swore I’d never get another and never again. And here’s never again.”

The words change, but the feelings are the same: Those who love and have learned to love more richly because of a dog carry a light in their soul. We have hope when the world goes crazy: Dogs want us in it. We are welcome in their worlds. They celebrate our existence. The circle of life is pretty damned special with a dog in it.

My heart beats dog

In Celebration of Dog

So my heart beats dog, trademark and all. A beating heart is a sign of life, and for me, that’s what dogs are: Signs of life and hope and goodness and living for the now all rolled into one. Dogs have taught me to be more of a human being and less of a human doing. How fortunate that my heart’s door opened at just the right time to let that joy in. It’s mine, I’m not alone, and today, tomorrow, and until my final breath, I celebrate dogs. Arooooooo!

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64 Comments

  1. At our house, dogs are top! Dogs may not be humans, but the older my mom gets, the more she says she is happy live with dogs rather than humans. We are special and are so good for our humans on so many levels!

  2. I always say that thé ones who don’t love dogs hace mucho tiempo learn. Abd all over thé world at all educacional and económica levels thé same lack of knowledge and understanding is present

  3. There’s hasn’t been an article that has touched me like this one. I love your love for dogs and your writing really hits home on so many levels. Happy Dog Day Carol Bryant.

  4. Happy National Dog Day! Carol this post was beautifully written! I love my human kids, and I love my dogs. While my expectations for each relationship may differ, I can’t understand why the term “dog mom” sets some people off the way it does. I hope your family has an extra special celebration today!

    1. I really appreciate you stopping by, Beth, and hope that you have a wonderful day and weekend, too. The photos you share on your blog truly touch me and showcase the heart and soul of dogs.

  5. Hi Carol, this is one of my all time favorites of your many wonderful articles. Thank you so much for this touching, “right on target” article. I feel as though you were expressing what I hold dear inside my own heart, for I definitely love my babies with every ounce of my being. They are the true center of my universe. I felt you were speaking/writing words that express my own personal, inner feelings about both of my precious, beloved fur-babies, Lucy & Holly. My little Lucy (Jack Russell Terrier) just turned 14 last week. I am mindful of the passing of time and I treasure and value every moment with sweet lil Lucy. I feel the same about my wonderful gal Holly (Rat “Minnie Mouse” Terrier) who turned 9 last week. We celebrate their bark-days at the same time together, as Holly rescued us 8 yrs ago and we do not know her exact birthday, only the year. But that is not important. What’s important is that “We Are Family” – my fur-babies and me – and I love them completely and wholeheartedly and would lay down my life for them. Thanks for the opportunity to express my love for Lucy & Holly on this special National Dog Day and to express my gratitude to you and chime in with a “me too” to your words “My Heart Beats Dog.” So very very true. Happy National Dog Day indeed to you and everyone!

    1. Kathi, You just made me cry – it’s a good happy but bittersweet cry. I’ve been doing a lot of that over these past 24 hours. I get so into every word I write, especially when it comes to dogs. Dog lovers of the highest order find each other, we get each other, and we celebrate together. Hugs and happy national dog day and all year round wags to you and your beautiful pack. <3

  6. I refer to my relationship with Montecristo as a cross species adoption. I feel that way about him. 100% so I totally get it. I really enjoyed this …slightly teary eyed.

  7. What a wonderful, heartfelt post that so many of us fellow Dog Moms can relate to. They may not be human, but the more.people.I .meet, the more I love my dogs.

  8. OMG that was the best blog post yet! Thank you for making me cry!!! I totally relate this article because I am a dog mom and my heart beats dog just like yours!! I celebrate National Dog Day every day! My dog is my baby and always will be!! She is the best thing that ever happened to me!

  9. Your love of dogs and Dex shines through in this post. Dogs (and cats) might not be people – but often they can be more loving and loyal than some of the people who call themselves our friends. Just sayin’

  10. “Send a shot of exuberance into the universe and make your dog a part of it” I love this line SO MUCH! So much beauty in this post that I hardly know where to start. Love it!

  11. Oh you made me cry! 😉 First, I’ve always loved your tagline and it’s so meaningful in so many ways. It break my heart to think about how little time we have with them and how fast time goes by. Now that I once again live with a senior dog I’m thinking about this more and more. My heart beats dogs too and I cannot imagine my life without my dogs in it.

  12. They love unconditionally, non-judge mentally, and wholeheartedly. Who else does that other than God? Dogs are our earthly angels.

  13. Every day really does feel like Christmas, waking up to dogs! What I love most about them is the ability to connect with other humans, something I think a lot of us struggle with at one time or another. How lucky we are to have a constant reminder of the warmth and love we’re capable of, no matter what.

  14. I am owned by five felines but I love dogs (and all furry creatures). I get my dog fix when one of my clients brings his golden lab to our coworking facility. Having some canine love at work always makes the day better!

  15. In truth, this made my eyes leak just a bit. I’m so very sorry you were hung by your thumbs for being a “dog mom.” Good grief! I gave Rugby a FB page two years before I began blogging, because I wanted a little thrown away dog to have a voice. I wanted Uprights to understand the heart of a dog, and his emotions and behavior. I wanted especially, for Uprights to understand what happens in a dog when they get “gived back.” The hearts of a dog beat for their Uprights, and if more Uprights understood that, fewer dogs would be surrendered, and more Uprights would share your wonderful outlook on living with a dog. <3

  16. This touched me! It is so hard being a dog mom in a family that thinks dogs are dogs and should live outside. My husband and I have decided kids are not for us, but both his and my family don’t understand why we have reproduced and have dogs that we travel with and talk about. Its hard. But I wouldn’t change my life for anyone. My dogs are my kids. B/c like you said they are extensions of us.

  17. “Dogs Aren’t People” was a very interesting perspective. I always think of my animals as people – but it’s true, they aren’t, and they aren’t in all the best ways. I love humanizing them but it’s good to remember that they are their own unique souls, too, and that should be respected. Thank you for the article! I love your writing style. 🙂

  18. Beautiful sentiments, Carol. I feel the same way about my cats. They are my babies even though they are not human. The joys and struggles of having a pet as your child are different than they would be if your child was human. As long as you aren’t trying to pretend that your pet is human, I see nothing wrong with letting them take over the “child” place in your life. Loving others is a good thing. It takes an amazing amount of courage to love someone when you know it is only a matter of time before you will have to let go.

    1. I adore your sentiments, but I do disagree on one thing, Robin. “The joys and struggles of having a pet as your child are different than they would be if your child was human” is something I will respectfully disagree on. I do believe the struggles are the same. Love is love. Struggles are struggles. Joy and sadness are universal. I really love what you said, “it takes an amazing amount of courage to love someone when you know it is only a matter of time before you will have to let go.” And that is so true.

  19. Beautiful post, Carol. And, very well worded. It’s true that dogs are not human but I love mine more than I love most humans! Great tribute for National Dog Day.

  20. I begged for a dog when I was a child and finally we got one when I was in highschool. She kept my mom sane when my brother and I left for college at the same time. Since I’ve been out of college, I’ve always had a dog. Hubster’s and I agree that we will never be without a dog…we love them. We are partial to Lab/lab mixes. Right now our 5 year old yellow lab mix is cuddled next to me. LOVE DOGS!

  21. This was so beautifully written, Carol. You’ve put into words so eloquently how many of us feel about our dogs. I consider myself a “dog mom” too. Of course we realize they’re not the same as human children, but they are our furkids and we love them with every fiber of our being. I’m pretty sure my dogs love us with every fiber of their furry little beings too! They really do help make our world full and special.! Thanks for putting the feeling into words so well for the rest of us. I celebrate the love I have for my dogs every day of the year, but it’s nice to have a day where we all shout it out collectively!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    1. Indeed – I feel the same way as a mom to kids and while I know my dog isn’t a human, he is like a child to me. I adore what you said and thank you from my dog-beating heart, Cathy! <3

  22. This is such a beautiful post! The sentiments can be understood and recognized by parents of all kinds of pets. I”m a proud cat mom! I love Lola and Lexy like I would love my children. You are one of the best dog moms I know.
    Dawn

    1. That means so much to me, and we love the posts you share and all you do in the name of cats. Hugs sweetie!

  23. What a lovely post! My dog is my heart. I absolutely love him to pieces. I am so thankful for him. Dogs aren’t humans this is true, but they sure are better than a lot of humans if you ask me 😉 So loyal and loving ALWAYS.

  24. I wont tell my cats about this day, but its already come and gone. I’ll probably tease them about it next year.

  25. my 3 gals make my heart beat every minute of the day. my oldest will be 15 on 9-12-16, she is now deaf, almost blind, back back, and has a little dementia. however. she still likes to play, loves to eat and has a lot of attitude. her vet bills have been more than some people make in a yr however, i would do anything to keep in her my life as long as she is not in pain. when i hold her, she looks in my eyes and i know she loves me. i think of my 3 gals as my kids and they definitely eat better than i do, have more hair products than i do, go to the vet more than i go to my dr. my 2 gals went to the dental vet, drove over 190 miles which i do many times a yr. they had graphs, fillings, crowns on their teeth. i brush their teeth 2/day.

  26. I love the way that sign is written-with the cocker in the middle of the “D”. Why not get some window decals or magnetic signs that we can buy? Donate the proceeds to a rescue group, or donate the proceeds to a “Dexter needs more stuff” fund. ? I would be very happy to have that on my back window!

  27. Thank you for sharing the emotional post I can see you love your dog very much. Yes my dogs also play an important role in my life they are like my spiritual supporter. Just seeing them after work makes all my stress goes away

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