As anyone who has spent 5 minutes with me, virtual or otherwise, will tell you, my little dog is my very best friend. Even when my health was much better my dog(s) were, along with bipeds, my best friends. But, as a single person who lives alone and doesn't get out much at all (at all!) I simply do not know what I would do without the constant loving and merry presence of my little dog.
I have a friend with me at all times. I am never lonely. I never feel unloved or neglected. I never want for an amusing companion. There is always someone to talk to. And, if I want a kiss or a cuddle all I have to do is ask.
I make decisions about where I live based largely on the demands of caring for a dog. I need only walk to the end of the corridor in my apt. building and down 1/2 a flight of stairs to let him out in the back yard to potty - he does as I ask so I needn't go into the yard with him but can wait on the step. He has been trained to potty on the lea of a small hill which goes down into a scrubby, little trench so I do not have to pick up after him as none walk there. I also live one block away from an off leash dog beach which allows him to cavort with other little dogs when I can make it down there. When I can't, which is usually, I sometimes resort to rolling a tennis ball in the apt. corridor for him to chase. When I cannot do that, I will ask him to sit out of sight (hiding his eyes, if you will) while I "hide" bits of kibble or popcorn around the studio apt. for him to find. On the days I can do none of this, he deals. The potty trips (3) we have to do, of course, but they are brief and, since I can do them, they are good for me.
Having had large dogs in the past, I would not recommend them to someone who cannot meet their high exercise needs and desire to travel unless they can afford a dog walker. If you can, no problem. If you cannot, and you really love dogs, very small dogs can be trained to potty in the bathroom on a special pad but I'm not a big fan of that system if you can do anything else. Healthy dogs naturally avoid going to the bathroom in the den so we are asking them to do something they find distasteful. Going potty on a pad on a balcony (made safe from falling!) on a potty pad is fine. But, all that potty stuff aside, a dog really wants to sniff another dogs pee (and bum) from time to time so a trip outside into the big pee ridden world is always good when you can manage it! And, if you do have a tiny dog which spends most of it's life indoors, another dog is a good idea.
I also think that all dogs, no matter their size or the condition of their person, should be calm, happy and able to pay attention which some people would call well trained. I believe that dogs that are "out of control" feel out of control and that's not a good feeling. Also, dogs involved in complex interdependent relationships with their people - which depends on communication, expectations, challenges, tasks - are happier dogs because they are not bored. There are many things my little guy is asked to do and think about during a day.
My dog also reminds me how healthy and healing it is to consider the feelings and well being of another sentient creature. I cannot get too wrapped up in me because there is another being here who needs me.
I'm allergic to dogs, cats, bears... so I have dogs with poodle hair and you will be spared a long post about the glories of living with a cat because I can't