I’ve always said, “My favorite part of travel is my first two minutes home”! I seem to travel a lot for Dog is Good, but this past weekend I got to enjoy a brief visit to Boston to surprise my sister and celebrate my Nephew’s 4th birthday. Since all the travel I do involves setting up trade shows and retail events, a visit filled with games of hide and seek and lots of book reading was a welcome retreat. There is something uniquely special about spending time with a 4 year old boy – infatuated with superheroes, sports, games, and his idol – football player Tom Brady. My 18 month niece also brought me back to fond memories when my own child was most content resting on my hip and being held in my arms.

While I absolutely adore my niece and nephew, and cherish any moment I can get with my sister, it’s not long before I pull out my iPhone to look at pictures. I proudly show off my daughter, sharing how much she has matured and grown up since our last visit together and then I get to the pictures and videos of my “pups”. It’s funny that even just watching their antics on my phone or sliding my way through their photos changes my entire physiological makeup. Many of you know what I am talking about- it’s that quirky pleasure and innocent joy that overcomes the heart whenever you are in the presence of or thinking of your dog(s). This is Dogvergnügen. It happens to me even when “I’m NOT” in the presence of my dogs.

My husband and daughter picked me up at LAX yesterday and lots of hugs were exchanged. Jon and I caught up on conversation while Abby eagerly returned to her cell phone texts and Facebook- looking up every once in a while to answer a question. It was a nice welcome home. But the real treat would happen the moment we pulled into the driveway.

You know exactly what happens. I open the door and my two “furry kids” come racing to me. To use the word excitement is an understatement. Sasha cries and buries her head in my neck and Henry literally flips out trying to get as close to me as he can. Nowhere else do I feel this kind of pure, unconditional adoration. I like to tell people that if we all made it a point to greet others (especially family members) with the same enthusiasm as our dogs greet us, our relationships with others would be lifted to an entirely new level.

In a month of giving thanks, I am thankful for the opportunity to spend time with my sister, brother in law, and precious niece and nephew. I am thankful for my own family and their open welcoming arms, and I am especially grateful for the Dogvergnügen I get to experience on a daily basis – it effects who I am every day.