There’s a sign at one of our favorite local restaurants that says, “Dogs welcome; people tolerated.” Ken says I need a sign like that in the house. Dogs are uncomplicated and their love is unconditional. Sure, every now and then they eat something gross in the yard or chew the corner of a rug (or in the case of Piper’s puppyhood, pee everywhere and eat EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN) but mostly, they’re enjoyable beings who never argue or talk back.
There’s a reason — actually, a whole lot of reasons — dogs have been used as canine assistants and therapy dogs for so long. Service dogs can be trained to assist people with a variety of challenges, including vision or hearing impairment, seizure disorders, PTSD, and even diabetes.
And of course, they’re doggone cute.
(Couldn’t resist the pun. Sorry/not sorry.)
Beyond the cuteness factor, did you know your dog provides proven health benefits?
How your dog can help your health:
1- As a dog owner, you are more likely to get your recommended amount of moderate exercise each week. Currently this recommendation is a total of 150 minutes each week, or 30 minutes 5 days/week.
2- People who have a canine buddy tend to have lower blood pressure, reduced cholesterol, and decreased triglyceride levels. These factors contribute to better overall cardiovascular health and fewer heart attacks — and dog owners who do have heart attacks have better survival rates following the events than those without a fur-kid.
3- Dogs are natural conversation starters. Dog owners often enjoy socializing with other dog owners while they walk. This is an extra-awesome benefit for those who are retired or work from home.
4- Just a few minutes with a pet reduces stress and increases happy neurochemicals in the brain. This is so powerful that some fire departments have even started having comfort dogs to boost moral.
5- Although it’s not recommended for allergy sufferers to have a pet sleep in their bedroom, studies show having pets in the home decreases kids’ chances of developing allergies.
6- Homes with dogs are less likely to be burglarized! Fido doesn’t have to be big for this benefit; even little dogs discourage robbers because their barking attracts attention burglars don’t want.
7- Studies have shown that physical touch is important to our emotional health. Dogs are usually more than happy to snuggle up or get a little doggie massage, which is good for them and for you!
I’m partial to dogs, but many other pets offer similar benefits, especially when it comes to companionship. (Although I can’t imagine a cat thwarting a robbery! )If you’re thinking of adding a pet to your family, consider a rescued pet and know you’ve done good for your new pet AND for yourself!