Of course it’s fun to do doggy selfies and dog Skyping, but you still can’t have a relationship with a dog that’s based solely on your phone or your computer.

Dogs live in the here-and-now and don’t have much interest in a “virtual you.” We have to pet them, and we have to spend real time with them. We have to go out into the world where people will stop us and ask, “What kind of dog is that?” or “Can I pet your dog?”

In an article about why dogs make our lives so much better, extraordinarydogs.org says: “In a world of email and texting and videoconferencing, a relationship with a dog is unmediated by technology. Couldn’t we all use a cuddly canine to tear us away from our smartphones?”

According to extraordinarydogs.org, “a recent study at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University found that the more attached a person was to an animal as a teenager and young adult, the more empathetic and confident he or she was.”

That’s a strong argument for having a family dog.