This morning, Nature was lying next to me, upside down, paws in the air, with a slight smile that only a complete abandonment of responsibility can create.
As I reached over and threaded my fingers into the soft, dense fur under his chin, I could feel a wave of relaxation course through my body. My heart rate slowed, blood pressure dropped, and remnants of excess cortisol left over in my body from the previous day’s stresses disappeared. And the pair-bonding hormone oxytocin began to work its magic on both of us.
As I rubbed his soft tummy, his four limbs reached out as far as they could, creating a dog-and-a-half. I leaned over and mumbled sweet things into his ear. He responded with that sneeze of his and a full body wiggle, letting me know he concurred.
But there was something more in those eyes than just another animal looking back at me, something more than the simple enjoyment of having soft fur nearby. My dog provided an access to something very deep inside.
While there are many mutually beneficial relationships between species, the one we have with our four-legged companions is truly unique.