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So I’m not going to lie. This wasn’t originally the post I set out to write. I actually started writing one entitled “Why I Go to Therapy”. But I stopped. Don’t worry, that post is coming someday soon. I think mental health and therapy are incredibly important topics to talk about. I’m happy to see so many people being open about their struggles with mental illness and trying to end the stigma. However, that’s going to be a post for another day.
Today I want to write about dogs, because who doesn’t love dogs? Anyone who follows me on social media, or who has read my “8 Things that are Bringing Me Joy Right Now” post knows just how obsessed I am with dogs (and all of my pets). They just make life so much better. So instead of a heavy topic that I honestly don’t have the energy to do proper justice this week, I’m going to keep it light and fluffy, and tell you about 5 Ways Dogs Make Life Better.
5 Ways Dogs Make Life Better
The first way dogs make life better is they improve your mental health. I know I said I wasn’t really going to talk about mental health this week, but this is one of the MAJOR benefits of having a dog in your life. There have been numerous studies showing that dog owners tend to be happier than non-dog owners. And as a dog owner myself, I can attest to this. I turn to my dog when my depression and/or anxiety are acting up. Or when something terrible happens. They are great at putting a smile on your face and helping you feel loved even when you’re down. They make every house or apartment feel more like a home. And even when you might feel a little lonely, your dog is always there to love you, no matter what. It just doesn’t get much better than that.
Dogs are great for friendship. And I’m not just talking about the companionship they personally provide. I’ve made and bonded with many friends over our dogs. Just about every dog owner can relate over their dogs, even if everything else about them is different. It’s amazing the people you can meet just walking down the street with your dog. Or on a hike. Or at the beach. Or literally anywhere you go with your dog. New to an area? Head to your local dog park (or just the regular park if you don’t have a dog park) and you’re bound to have a new friend in no time!
I think it’s pretty well-known that dogs make you more active. Just like humans, dogs need exercise to live their healthiest lives, and they usually need humans to help them out with it! Whether it’s walking, running, hiking, playing fetch, or literally any other movement, having a dog gets you out and moving. Not only is this physically beneficial, but studies show that movement and exercise are good for your mental health too! All dogs, small and large, young and old, need to move, and need you to do it with them! Activity is just one of the many ways dogs make life better.
Obviously, activity and movement is essential to physical health. But studies have show other benefits to owning a dog! These studies show that people who own dogs tend to have lower blood pressure (reduced stress?), lower cholesterol, and subsequently have a lower risk of experiencing a heart attack. Even if a dog owner does experience a heart attack, these studies show that they are more likely to live longer afterwards. So basically, your dog is helping save your life. How cool is that?
You’ve heard that saying “be the person your dog thinks you are,” right? I know those are words that I live by. I want to be worthy of their unconditional and overly excited love. All those jumps, tail wags, excited squeal barks (is my dog the only one that does this?), and zoomies make me want to be a better person. They make me want to be deserving of all that good. It’s incredible how loving a dog, and having a dog love you back, can truly change your heart. It helps you reflect on the person you want to be, the good you want to do, and who your dog sees you as. And for me, that’s incredibly powerful.
I don’t know about all of you, but I cannot imagine life without a dog. Even when I went away to college for the first time, being without a dog was one of the hardest parts of moving away from home. So that summer, I went out and got my little pup Bailey. She’s been the best companion a girl could ask for, getting me through some of the hardest times in my life. But she’s also been there to celebrate during some of the best. There are so many ways dogs make life better. Having a dog has helped me to take care of mental health, connect with friends, move more, live healthier, and live better. I honestly don’t know how to live without a dog anymore, and I don’t want to ever learn.
How does your dog make your life better? Let me know in the comments below! And tell me all about your pups. Do they have an Instagram account? Link to that too! Bailey loves following other dogs and would love to connect with yours!