Is “man’s best friend” more than that?
We think it is. A dog’s power on health cannot be understated. Dogs simply make people happy. Period. They’re company, comfort, fun, protection, security and make people laugh and feel valued.
The greetings at the door make you feel wanted and needed and unconditionally loved and accepted. Literally, dogs don’t care what you look like, smell like, weigh… they only care about your presence.
They can sense your mood and be what you need them to be. They don’t try to fix anything. They are simply a source of comfort, love, and attention.
They give you something to be tethered to and pull you back to the important things in life because their life depends on how you care for them.
Sometimes all you need is simply a furry friend to sit on your lap and lick your face. Sometimes all they need is for you to throw their ball – reciprocity at its best.
It’s a mutual relationship that’s pure love.
The tail wag – the way they wiggle all about … simply puts a smile on your face.
They don’t expect anything in return so there’s no need to meet any sort of standard… what a relief! What other relationship could be so unconditional?!
Studies show that pet owners are far less likely to suffer from depression than non-pet owners. Playing with a dog elevates levels of serotonin and dopamine – both calm and relax. People with pets have reduced muscle tension and lower pulse rate and blood pressure. People with pets tend to exercise more and experience greater companionship. They can add years to elderly people’s lives because they fight loneliness which can trigger symptoms of isolation. They reduce anxiety because the companionship offers comfort and builds self-confidence. Dogs also help you to become more mindful and appreciate the joy of living in the present. They also help to add structure and routine which can help keep them and you balanced and calm. They provide sensory and stress relief through touch and movement. They help you find meaning and joy in life … they boost vitality. Dogs are never critical and never order you around. Those with separation anxiety find comfort and relief with pets through the constancy of the connection. And the list goes on …
Embrace the power of the pooch. You won’t regret it.
By Maria Mellano and Morganne Kenney
Morganne Kenney is a Southern California Farm Girl, an undergrad student at Cal State San Marcos studying psychology and a manager at the Wrench and Rodent in Oceanside. She can be found in her free time hanging with her sheep, fish, and dogs.