Do dog owners have happier marriages?

The other morning on my way to work I was listening to Mornings with Brant on the radio. They usually have interesting topics of discussion, but this one really struck a cord with me. They were talking about how multiple studies have found that couples that have a dog have happier marriages. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge animal person and love my pup, but I found myself debating the validity of these studies. I could understand if the studies said people with good dogs have happier marriages, but dogs in general, not so much.

I begged Casey for a dog. When that didn’t work, I brought home a “foster” dog (Thanks Jennifer!). When I first heard Casey say “our dog,” I knew the permanent home that I never actually looked for, would not be necessary. Minny, on her good days, brings lots of joy to our home. But on the days when she doesn’t listen or we come home to the shredded remains of whatever she has gotten a hold of that day, all it does is add stress to our marriage, not happiness.

My Dog minny

Minny is such a goof.

One big reason I was excited to have a dog was I thought I would FINALLY get Casey to go on walks with me. He never would before because he said “that’s what old people do.” Even though I now get my walks, they are layered with the frustration of keeping Minny from dragging us down the trail or pooping in the neighbor’s yard. Not quite the quintessential picture of man and wife holding hands, strolling down the sidewalk with man’s best friend trotting happily alongside.

Minny looking innocent.

Pictures can be so deceiving 🙂

With all the bad that comes with some dogs, the best thing about dogs in a marriage has got to be that it’s almost impossible to be mad at your spouse when there is a dog around. Whether it’s the innocence of your pup’s wagging tail or the genuine concern they show for you when you’re upset, dogs have a unique power to lighten the mood. It’s like Minny knows there’s tension when Casey and I argue; however, her over-sized tongue and wagging tail are not her weapons of choice.  She’ll stand right in between us, and will let out a squeaky toot in the most strategic moment. My father-in-law always says “there’s nothing funnier than a fart.” In this circumstance, he might actually be right.

Taking the good with the bad, I can’t imagine life without a dog, but the jury is still out on whether Minny has led to a happier marriage.

Do you think dogs lead to a happier marriage? I’d love to hear your doggy tales.

About Shana Bresnahan Interactive media evangelist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center that truly loves life, loves God and loves others. Wife to Casey. Owner of Minny. Aunt to 11. Advocate of transparency. (Opinions my own)
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