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Dorothy once clicked her sparkly red shoes together and said, “There’s no place like home.” And she was right. Because when I walk in the front door, I’m entering my happy place where I can put up my feet and enjoy a little peace and quiet.

Unless, of course, I was in the hands-on years of parenting. Then all bets were off.

Before the empty nest, the greeting I received from The Boys was definitely age-dependent. From a toddler’s high-pitched squeal of delight (or remnants of a tantrum because I actually left), to the indifferent grunt from a teen, the parental unit acknowledgement was as diverse as the year and current mood.

The spousal hello fluctuated depending on how long we’d been married. In the early days of our relationship, the reception was being met at the door, followed by a hug and a kiss. A couple decades in, a more typical martial howdy-do from either of us consists of charming phrases such as, “Did you call the plumber?” mumbled from the couch.

Even though these greetings have evolved over the years, there’s one show of home-front hospitality that’s been consistent across my entire life span: the greeting from my pooches.

Whether I’ve been gone for seven minutes, seven hours, or seven days, I can always count on a hearty welcome from my dogs. When the front door swings open, my pups act like JLo, Shakira, or Queen Bey has just stepped out of a limo and entered the premises. And my four-legged groupies have one job and one job only – to completely lose their minds with joy.

The feeling is mutual.

In my opinion, there’s absolutely nothing better than this wildly enthusiastic display of happiness from my doggos. They wag not only their tails, but wiggle their entire bodies with unbridled excitement. They give me an unlimited supply of drool-infused doggie kisses, then flop on their backs for a belly rub.

Of course, I’m always happy to oblige.

Scientists tell us that the happiness dogs feel is the same as people experience. But since dogs are not capable of that abstract thought in between happy and sad, when it comes to emotion, our furry friends are all in the moment. That’s why the sight, sound and scent of their human triggers an unstoppable canine celebration. And they are powerless to contain their delight. Upon your arrival, dogs unleash this all-out revelry in the form of a sniff-fest to discover where you’ve been, who you’ve seen and if you have bacon in your pocket.

But is there an expiration date on a canine’s memory? If you were gone too long, would they just turn their attention to the next bacon-carrying biped?

Recently, Montana’s own NASA astronaut, Christina Koch would find out. After returning home from a record-breaking 328 days in space, she was excited to return to planet Earth, gravitational forces and the use of eating utensils. But the one thing Christina was most excited about was being reunited with her rescue dog named LBD (Little Brown Dog). But after orbiting the Earth for nearly a year, I’m sure she wondered if the pup would even remember her space-flying human.

A video posted on Twitter captured the moment when LBD was first staring out the window. When she spied Christina, the tiny pooch practically came unglued and couldn’t contain her full-on joy because her human had finally come home. Christina reported that she couldn’t decide who was the most excited.

Beyond those two, I’d say dog lovers everywhere were pretty tickled by this reunion. Because it confirmed what we already suspected was true about our four-legged friends.

Denise Malloy always keeps dog treats in her pocket. She can be reached at

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