Dogs And Our Mental Health
There is nothing truer than the love of a good dog. My family and I have a very handsome (biased, I know) Cockapoo, a mix of Cocker Spaniel and Poodle, and his name is Chester. With his bright brown eyes and teddy like curly blonde fur, it was love at first sight when we brought him home almost 6 years ago. I can’t begin to tell you how much he changes our lives on the daily, just by being….well, him.
Some dogs have a purpose to work, whereas others are trained to rescues but for many, they are for us to share our homes with. Bonds between them and us are built and trust levels are gained, and they quickly become a part of our families. Affectionate and devoted, they can give us a sense of safety and belonging. Over many years, scientific studies and research has proven that dogs play a vital part in our day-to-day lives. Even just sitting by, stroking or playing with our dogs can help to relax and calm us, without even realising it, they become our everyday heroes.
Reasons why dogs benefit our mental wellbeing:
· Dogs can help with depression, anxiety, and stress. We feed of their happy and kind natured temperaments. They can also help to ease loneliness and are great for companionship.
· Dogs are great for our social lives. They help us form friendships with other like-minded people. In the early stages, these could be formed at puppy classes, weekly / monthly meet ups with other dog owner friends, or maybe at a dog walking group. Not only does it help us, but it’s also helps your pet’s own social skills.
· Dogs help to keep us fit and active. Getting up and out, walking or running can help release happy endorphins, leading to a happier and healthier mindset. Dogs can also help speed up recovery. If exercising is a part of your recovery, getting out on a more regular basis could quicken up the process.
· Dogs can change your mood in an instance. Just by walking through the door and being greeted by a waggy tail can lift your mood. It’s been proven dogs are capable of feeling a lot of the same emotions as us, and when they see us feeling sad or destressed, they try to do something to help.
· Dogs give us meaning and purpose. A real game changer on your off days, dogs have a routine, they still need feeding and regular exercising. It can make us feel productive and useful.
· Dogs are not only cute and furry, but also very smart. They can help people recovering from or managing illnesses and disabilities. Such as hearing dogs, guiding the blind or assisting disabled people in a variety of different ways.
· Dogs are perfect for all generations, especially young children. They can help to make them feel secure and become active at an early age. Children can learn to teach their dogs tricks, or dog agility, which gives them a sense of pride.
· Taking pictures, blogging and talking about our dogs online can also help to expand our creativity, giving us more ways to express ourselves.
· Dogs are great listers (because we all need one of those). Sometimes just being able to off load our problems to our 4-legged friends can put our woes at bay.
The bond between human and hound is like no other, and the connection between them and our mental health, is without a doubt a powerful one. So, the next time you see those beautiful eyes are staring back at you, just remember that they are so much more than a dog. To them, we are not just their owners, we ARE their whole world. It is a love like no other, it’s pure, it’s wholehearted and its unconditional.