Marty and Einstein Nemko
Source: Marty and Einstein Nemko

Some people have told me they prefer dogs to humans. A number of famous people have also admitted that:

"Dogs love their friends and bite their enemies, quite unlike people, who are incapable of pure love and always have to mix love and hate.” Sigmund Freud

“The better I get to know people, the more I find myself loving dogs.” Charles de Gaulle, former President of France.

"You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.” Robert Louis Stevenson, author, Treasure Island.

“The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.” Andy Rooney.

“If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” Harry Truman

"Dogs never bite me. Just humans.” Marilyn Monroe

Elton John's dog was the best man at his wedding.

Drew Barrymore has bequeathed her house to her dog Flossie.

Oprah Winfrey, at jury duty was asked to say something about herself,. She said," “I have a talk show. I’m single. I have eight dogs."

"There are few (people) who have even a small surplus of intellectual powers. . . .with the others, it is better not to enter into any relations . . . what they have to say will not be worth listening to....To anyone who needs lively entertainment for the purpose of banishing the dreariness of solitude, I recommend a dog, in whose moral and intellectual qualities he will almost always experience delight and satisfaction." Arthur Schopenhauer, Philosopher.

Why a person might prefer a dog to humans

On the face of it, preferring a dog over humans seems absurd. After all, dogs' thinking is limited, their speech non-existent. Yet, especially if people haven't been reliably kind to you, a dog offers certain advantages:

Reliability. A dog will always be there for you. Compare that with the human divorce rate.

Non-judgmentalness. A dog will never disparage you. As was made famous by psychotherapist Carl Rogers, non-judgmental listening can often be of great benefit.

No hidden motives. People are sometimes nice to your face and stab you in the back. Or they're nice until it becomes expedient not to be, for example, if serious money is at stake. With doggies, what you see is what you get--consistent, unconditional love.

Practical matters: A doggie forces you to get out and take walks--healthy. If you're single, a doggie is a date magnet. It can provide security---most dogs bark when someone comes near your home. And on a personal note, my doggie Einstein is my receptionist, welcoming clients with a wag and a kiss---something no human receptionist would do. And he's my co-counselor: If a client likes, Einstein will sit next to him on the sofa. The client often pets the dog during the session--a great stress buster. Years after a client has finished working with me, I've often received a note that includes a line such as, "How's Einstein? Give him a hug for me."

The Takeaway

Even if you generally prefer people over dogs, for most of us, the benefits of having a doggie in the family far outweigh the liabilities.

If you don't have a dog, so many are just waiting for a home. And today, it's easy to find one that's right for you: www.petfinder.com.

Dr. Nemko's nine books are available. You can reach career and personal coach Marty Nemko at mnemko@comcast.net.

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