One of the most fascinating relationships is the relationship between a dog and his "master." I hate to say owner because that removes all the intimacy I like to believe exists in the dog-human relationship. As a born psychologist, I can over-analyze anything. Watching dogs interact with their masters is endless entertainment for me.
I remember something a friend said to me that I thought was really interesting. He said he thought it was a little strange that his girlfriend seemed so thrilled to see their dog when she got home, and dropped a flippant, apathetic "hello" to him. He watched his girlfriend express endless love for this little canine, while he got only emotional morsels of attention and interest.
This interaction likely happens every day in every household around the world. How is that and what does it mean? Do we actually love our pets more than our partners?
I could not write this blog without having had exposure to some incredibly bright people in my past. They have been peppered throughout my personal life and clinical training. As I think back, I reflect on one clinician who said to me that the only relationship in which it is safe to give unconditional love is in the relationship you have with your pet. This clinician felt that it was a fact of life that we will inevitably get emotionally wounded in some way or other by those people we love sooner or later.
I believe we don't love our pets more than our partners, but I think we express our love more. Human relationships are so complicated because we go in and out of feelings for our partners so quickly. One moment we feel intense love, but the next moment we feel annoyed or angry. With our dogs, we put up with a lot more. We are more tolerant with our dogs because we see them almost like playful, innocent little infants who don't know any better.
I think the important thing to take with you is to remember to show your love more to the humans you come home to. Making a conscious effort to rub your partner's back or make some sweet physical gesture lets your partner know you love him or her, too. Dogs aren't the only ones who need an occasional treat.