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What face does your dog make? This is the look of love...

How dogs heal and influence us without really trying

We were taking our dog for a walk. Every day we walk through the city. Every day our dog surprises us by her impact on others. One day a child will be over the moon from their encounter, another day, like today, a man at a bus stop will have a look that causes us to stop. He clearly was thrilled to have a moment with Cleo, then he shared with us the reason for his joy. He was recovering from cancer & had returned from a stay with family up north, where he had discovered the healing power of dogs.

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His encounter with Cleo today, in the moment before his bus arrived, made him very happy. His sharing made us happy & again amazed at dogs, and the power of Cleo. It's 2013 and..[...]

Update to this story originally published in October 2011: Two years later, our dog is still having a loving affect on strangers. She does this both online with her stories and photos, along with experiences with new neighbors and visitors to the city. As much as I love my dog, I can't believe she is that unique when it comes to her deep well of love. I believe in the power of the human-animal bond and its positive impact on our well-being. Both for man and dog.

We've had tourists renting a house that Cleo passes each morning. They showed interest in her from the start, and after a few days started to call out to us, wanting to visit with Cleo. The elderly couple from Ireland were attracted to Cleo's size and beauty, and then to her endearing personality after they got up close to pet her. She seems to know her role in life is to share her warmth, love and happy face.

I'm grateful for the chance to be her buddy and guardian. Her influence over me has been steady and has covered almost every inch of life. I know we're in our final time together now, and it takes a lot for me to focus on the positive. It's a challenge partly because she is such a force to behold in person. Her absence will be felt, and then what dog will heal my broken heart? Maybe I should plan now to move into my local humane society and let the dogs there heal me?

I'm getting ahead of myself, but as you can see, dogs do influence us, profoundly, without really trying. I would love to read your thoughts about this influence and anything else in the comments.

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