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Interested in Adopting a Dog – Benefits of having a Dog!

Dogs create Positive Lifestyle

 

What Do Those Crazy Doggie Owners Know that You Don’t?

The positive effects of dogs on humans are not whimsy or any new notion. The therapeutic use of pets can be traced back as far as the Eighteenth Century when institutionalized patients were free to roam the grounds with small domestic animals as a means to promote relaxation, calmness, and socialization. In current times of busy lives and high stress existence among people of all ages, we are seeing a surge of pet ownership and understanding of their value beyond simple entertainment. Perhaps no furry creature is as beneficial to our health and well-being as the dog.

 

Touch and Warmth. More so than any other domestic animal, dogs are warm, loving, and loyal. This alone has a positive impact on humans as it meets our most basic need for touch. Dog owners spend countless hours petting, scratching, and massaging their four-legged buddies and probably are not even aware why. Sure, it’s to convey love, but we, as the petters, also receive feelings of happiness and relaxation in the process. But the benefits of dog ownership go beyond that.

 

Positive Lifestyle Influence. “Lifestyle” is a popular word, and more than ever people are striving to live a happy one. We’re recovering from economic set backs, working more hours at multiple jobs, and our demanding day-to-day responsibilities leave us with little or no time to take care of ourselves. We put off our walk or exercise for later. But you know who can’t be put off for later? Fido. He has to walk now, and knowing that, a couple of blocks in our busy day open up to walk with him. And play ball or Frisbee or chase him around the yard and roll in the grass, and wrestle for the squeaky toy to determine which one of us is the squeaky hamburger king!

 

Sorry. Where was I? Right. Physical activity, healthy lifestyle, dogs and people… and not only does this benefit busy folks, but it encourages kids to get off the video games, and provides a boost to older folks to move about more frequently. Other positive lifestyle influences of dog ownership include…

 

- Companionship

- Socialization

- Reduced Anxiety

- Structure

 

Everyone needs a buddy and the constant companionship and unconditional love that comes from a good dog is priceless. A dog brings increased self-esteem and decreases feelings of loneliness to children, as well as older folks whose circle of friends and family have been reduced over the years. People who have dogs are approachable to one another, strike up conversations, and build relationships with one another, all based on that one common bond. Likewise, people without dogs approach dogs and their owners for a quick pet and some conversation. The pooch brings people together. A key component of a successful lifestyle, career, household, etc. is structure. Dogs by nature thrive on routine and they will train YOU to form good habits, structure, and routine, simply by learning to understand them and care for them. And all that petting, socializing, and organized life, and unconditional love adds up to reduced anxiety and feelings of well-being.

 

The average person and the average family can attest to the joy and positive impact that Fido has on their home, even if they cannot tell you why. But check out the results of a few studies that have been done…

 

- Pet exposure in the first year of a child’s life can lead to a reduction in the development of allergies.

- Older folks that own pets go to the doctor less than those who do not.

- Kids with pets have fewer sick days from school.

- Children with dogs are better socialized.

- Children with dogs have higher self esteem and cognitive development.

- Kids with dogs have more empathy, compassion, and social awareness.

- People with dogs have lower blood pressure.

- Heart attack patients with dogs live longer than those without dogs.

- Seniors who have lost most of their friends and family find joy, connection, and meaning in life, and   experience a boost in vitality when they have the companionship of a dog.

- Dogs assist in the rehabilitation of prisoners.

- People with dogs rehabilitate and bounce back better from physical and mental trauma.

Yes, absolutely, they are fun and entertaining, but the benefit of dogs to people and society can be as powerful as time with the shrink and prescription drugs. Dogs make people feel good and inspire people to be better humans. That’s the secret that we passionate doggie owners know. Come closer… we’ll share… and you’ll be one of us in no time!

 

References:

Kids and Allergies - http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=116852&page=1#.T4USNKuue8A

Seniors and Dogs - http://www.nytimes.com/1990/08/02/us/health-pet-owners-go-to-the-doctor-less.html

General Benefits - http://consensus.nih.gov/1987/1987HealthBenefitsPetsta003html.htm

Mental Health - http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2011/07/cats-dogs.aspx

Kids and Dogs - http://www.nytimes.com/1990/01/11/us/health-children-and-their-pets-unexpected-psychological-benefits.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

Dogs and Prisons - http://www.mobilitydogs.co.nz/214966/html/page.html

 

 

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