Dear dogs of San Francisco,

I’d just like to formally say thanks. No, really, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your presence.

Let me elaborate a little. There is nothing that fills my heart with joy more than seeing a happy dog. I know I’m not the only one who thinks so, either. I mean, there you are with your tongue lolling out of your mouth, panting with joy, your tail whipping back and forth, galloping across the grassy fields of Golden Gate Park, and it’s like the Heavens have parted and beautiful light is spilling down on your gloriously fluffy little face.

When dogs are happy, they really smile. It’s the most special, undeniably contagious kind of smile of a being that truly loves life and feels like everything is right with the world. For a happy dog, there is no responsibility, no hunger, no stress, no fear, nothing but the sun and the flowers and the prospect of a tennis ball about the be thrown. When I see a happy dog, I feel a crazy sense of warmth wash over my skin and I can’t help but smile, too.

That being said, college is tough. We students are partially submerged in adulthood and have a huge load of new responsibilities to keep up with: homework, laundry, social life, finances, fitness, work, the list goes on and on. So, there I am, drowning in stress and overthinking my entire life so far. I step outside to get some much needed fresh air, but my mind is still working in overdrive.

And then it happens.

I see a smiley little dog strutting by, soaking up the sunlight (or the rain, it doesn’t even matter what the weather is) and just loving life. And all my problems dissolve around me. All I see is a pup's pure joy. It feels amazing; it feels like home. And I can’t help but love life a little more, too.