If Only I Could Love My Husband Like His Dog Did

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“What if I loved him like his dog did? What if I could fill that void as his wife?” says Trish.


We recently put our elderly dog to sleep. It was a sad day, but the most remarkable thing about his death is the void left in my husband’s world.

Every day for the past 11 years, my husband returned from work and took Bailey for a walk, a daily highlight for both of them. Bailey would sit patiently by the door every evening, listening for the car. When the door opened, he jumped up and down like a child at Christmas, shadowing Keith’s every movement until he said, “Come?”

At that simple request, Bailey cocked his head, leapt with joy and rushed to the door as if the creature’s entire existence was defined by that one moment.

They walked for 45 minutes together in our woods, side by side. When they returned from their “date,” they were both calmer, happier and oddly at peace with the world.

Following our dog’s death, my husband’s homecoming just wasn’t the same.

With closing arguments in an 1870 trial about a murdered dog, attorney George Vest said, “The one absolutely unselfish friend a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him and never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog.”

This famous statement was shortened to the common phrase “man’s best friend” and has summarized this special relationship between man and dog ever since.

That made me wonder. Why aren’t wives referred to as man’s best friend? What would happen if we could love our husbands the way their dogs do? What would change? What might be better?

Someone shared the song “Like My Dog” by country singer Billy Currington with me. Some of the lyrics were too graphic to print, but the chorus is worth pondering:

“I want you to love me like my dog does, baby

When I come home, want you to just go crazy

He never looks at me like he might hate me

I want you to love me like my dog”

What would it look like if wives could fulfill this heartfelt longing? Maybe our relationships would look less like country songs and more like the marriages we hope for.

Suzanne Phillips, a clinical psychologist at Long Island University, completed extensive research charting similarities between man’s relationships with dogs and their marriage relationships. Many marriage counselors agree that some basic needs are the same. Even the Creator of the covenant between a husband and wife has clear directives about the need to find that reciprocal “best friend” kind of love in marriage.

I know I’m walking a fine line here. I’m not suggesting in any way that the female and canine species are comparable. And I know it takes both a man and a woman willing to work at loving each other well to make a marriage successful. But, maybe we can take some cues from man’s best friend.

Dogs are excited to see you. When was the last time you dropped everything when your husband walked through the door? Would taking a moment to show our husbands we’re glad to see them help them feel loved?

Dogs are always ready to play. As silly or inconvenient as it may be when we have serious business to attend to, would it hurt to lighten up and join our husbands in some playful fun?

Dogs are eager to please. They are always available and never look disgusted or disappointed. Would putting our husband’s needs ahead of our own occasionally motivate him to meet ours?

Dogs don’t criticize. They do have a clear advantage. They can’t talk. If they could, I bet they wouldn’t nag, whine or complain. Maybe showing more appreciation to our husbands would encourage them to do the same.

Dogs follow the lead. Dogs trust their owners based on a history of shared respect. Maybe we can also build trust by respectfully listening and accepting our husband’s ideas even when they don’t match our own.

Dogs don’t hold grudges. If you miss his walk one day, he’s ready and willing the next. Maybe we can do a better job of apologizing when we are wrong and quicker to forgive mistakes.

Dogs are devoted. Dogs are healthiest and happiest when they’re near their best friend. Maybe we can show our husbands that we admire them by devoting more time and attention to them.

Maybe if I could learn to love my husband like his dog did, he would love me like he loved his dog. Maybe if I walked beside him more often, greeted him eagerly at the door and didn’t complain as much, I could become his best friend, too.

By Trish Propson
Adapted from PostCrecent.com 

17 thoughts on “If Only I Could Love My Husband Like His Dog Did”

  1. Interesting perspective, but just let me say that I did love and serve my husband as a dog would — for over 30 years–and guess what? He treated me like a dog! Expected me to go and do whatever and whenever he wanted, threw me the occasional scrap and expected me to be grateful. When I developed a serious health problem and wasn’t “fun” anymore, he couldn’t get out the door fast enough. I certainly empathize with the senior dogs who are dumped at the pound when they’re not young and playful and in total servitude anymore.

    • I’m sorry to hear your husband was a real asshole….for treating you like that…….if anyone in my world were to say i treated them like a dog, i would have to take it as a compliment…..i treat my dog better than life itself….i love him, play with him, laugh with him, relax with him and feed him a fantastic meal every day!! When i am invited to 4th of July parties or some Christmas gatherings, if my dog isn’t allowed to go, i don’t either….i would much rather spend my time with my best friend….his life is too short not to cherish all the good times i have with him…..so, shame on certain people for being such rotten people….i love animals more than people!!!

    • Umm…if he treated you like that why did you stay with him that long? You have no-one to blame but yourself!

      • who are you to judge? do you know her? do you know what she’s been thru in her marriage? were you there? do you even have a clue of what a person who is abused by her husband goes thru? NO YOU DON’T! so don’t JUDGE what you are SO IGNORANT About! Instead, show a bit of compassion, but by the looks of it, you don’t know what that even is! This goes for Mr. Anonymous. Above my message. PRICK!

  2. I would make ONE major change to this>>>>

    instead of “husband” >> “spouse”

    for it is applicable to both.

    And while we’re on it — might not even include “friend”? “neighbor”? and well all “people”??????


    The later you are, the more excited a dog is to see you.
    Dogs don’t notice when you call them by another dogs name.
    Dogs like if you leave a lot of things on the floor.
    A dog’s parents never visit.
    Dogs agree that you have to raise your voice to get your point across.
    You never have to wait for a dog they’re ready to go 24 hours a day.
    Dogs find it especially amusing when you’re drunk.
    Dogs like hunting and fishing.
    A dog will not wake you up at night just to ask: “ If I died, would you get another dog? “
    If a dog has babies, you can put an add in the paper and give them away.
    A dog will let you put a studded collar on it without calling you a pervert.
    If a dog smells another dog on you, it doesn’t get mad; it just thinks it’s interesting.
    If a dog leaves, it won’t take half your stuff with it.

    • this is a beautiful heartfelt write. I know how your husband felt about his dog. your dog is a part of you, it is the pure unconditional love from your dog that can keep you going. Jan Boyden, if you read her post again you will realize she is not saying “how to please your man” she is saying “this is how to have a great marriage. my wife meets me at the door, with our dogs, every morning I get home from nightshift. I do the same for her when she gets home in the evening. each of us has a cuppa made and a bikkie or sandwich for the other when we get home. this is what she is saying. work together to make each-other happy.

  4. Hmmm. Seems like the better question to ask is if BOTH partners in a marriage or relationship could love each other unconditionally, and forgive as unconditionally, as dogs do with their people.

    It’s not limited to one gender or another.

  5. why are you all attacking her. this is a beautiful write and she is saying how much she would love to give her husband the unconditional love of a dog. he probably feels the same. where does it say she is abused? where does it say hat her husband is not a nice person. stop reading between the line and trying to psychoanalysis everything and just take this write for what it is, a beautiful write. oh and by the way i don’t hide behind the word anonymous

    • Maybe some of us didn’t actually miss her point. We realize what she was trying to say – we just either disagree with it, or think she missed her mark.

      Dogs are dogs. Humans are humans. A man’s relationship with his dog is not analogous to his relationship with his wife. I get that she’s trying to say maybe all wives should try being more enthusiastic and appreciative. But it really is not the same, no matter how hard a well-intentioned writer tries to make the square peg fit into a round hole.


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