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Happiness You Can Actually Buy: The Power of a Pet

There is a general statement of wisdom out there that claims that you simply cannot buy happiness. If you are unhappy inside, buying a new sports car or new jewelry or a new outfit will really not make any difference in the long term. These material things might give you an initial spike of satisfaction but it will usually be only temporary.

However, I once saw something very interesting inside a puppy care guide. On a full page, there was a wonderful photo of a cute Labrador puppy along with a text caption that read;

Whoever said that you cannot buy happiness, certainly does not know about puppies!”

When you look at that photo and caption, you just could not help but put on a huge smile and if you are already a dog owner as I have been since 1979, you will also be nodding your head in agreement. Whoever came up with that idea with this full page is a real genius, and here’s why:

Pet People Tend To Be Happy People

In fact, if you look around at pet owners, especially those with dogs and cats, they are generally quite happy people. In my observation, the more involved these people are with their pets, the happier they seem to be.

I was out in one of our local leash-free dog parks the other day with my two dogs Chester and Roxie. What typically happens at these dog parks is that the owners would usually stand around and watch their dogs interact with each other.

It is hard to explain to non-dog owners but there is a sense of pride while we are all being fully entertained by the various antics that our dogs do with each other. I can say that while we are at the dog park, the rest of the entire world is pretty well shut out. Everyone at the dog park, both the humans and the dogs, are quite happy.

After the trip to the dog park, my dogs and I would return home to wind down a bit. As I am sitting on the couch, one of my dogs would climb on up on my lap and rest his or her chin on my chest while looking up at me. Even though dogs cannot talk, I can still imagine either Chester or Roxie saying something like,

Thanks for taking us to the dog park Daddy — we had lots of fun! We love you.

Again, there is a real, deep sense of happiness as well as companionship with this type of interaction between a pet owner and a pet. I am most certain that all pet owners reading this will be able to relate to this feeling.

Are Pets The Answer To Achieving Happiness?

So the question whether pets are the answer for achieving happiness can be explored. In my experience as well as that of other pet owners, there are indeed huge benefits with pet ownership, especially with animals that you can build a connection with. Although this can be open to some debate, I would think that it is easier to build a connection with domestic animals such as dogs, cats and birds, who can actively interact with humans rather than say tropical fish or turtles. But again, I can be wrong on this (non-dog/cat pet owners, please feel free to share your experiences in the comments section).

Of course being realistic as well, I realize that happiness is much more complex. Pets are of course not the total answer but they have definitely proven to be one element that can certainly contribute to our long-term happiness, unlike material objects such as jewelry or a new designer handbag.

Some people might claim that you can get the same type of satisfaction with raising children. This is probably true but there is a huge difference in my mind between pets and children. As all parents will have to agree, children, especially when they reach their teen years, will not always be happy to see you when you get home. On the other hand, pets and especially dogs are always happy to see you.

So I think to a great extent, the caption in that puppy care guide is correct. You can buy happiness if you buy the right thing. Just make sure that it is furry and has four legs!

Clint Cora is a motivational speaker, author and Karate World Champion. See his FREE 3-part Personal Development Video Series to learn how to expand your comfort zone to conquer even your most daunting goals in life.

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Finding Bliss: How to Reverse Engineer Happiness

The 6 Components of a Happy Life