There’s nothing quite like waking up at the crack of dawn to a cold, wet nose half an inch from your face. You feel like rolling over, pulling the covers over your head and drifting off again, but the dog is up and ready to go. Sure, you could have ignored that prodding nose and wiggly butt and gotten a bit more sleep, but you just can’t resist those big puppy eyes. So you dutifully get up, put on your shoes, grab the leash and head outside. Before you know it, you’re being taken on an early morning walk (or if your dog is especially strong, an early morning jog).
It’s not hard to see that owning a dog makes you more active and healthier – mentally and physically. An interesting study done by researchers from the University of Montreal found that dogs can even help children with developmental disorders, such as autism. The research team measured the level of cortisol, which is a hormone that is produced by the body when you’re stressed, in 42 autistic children at 3 different times: prior to the introduction of a service dog, during the dog’s stay with the family, and after the dog was taken away. They found that living with the dogs caused the children’s cortisol levels to decrease and, as a result, fewer behavioral problems to arise. Another study done by researchers at the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine found that elderly patients with Alzheimer’s experienced fewer anxious outbursts when they had a dog in their home. This shows that everyone, young and old, can benefit from owning a dog.
It’s not just the companionship that is beneficial to your well-being and happiness. Dogs also give you a sense of mental security and peace of mind as they are pack animals that are protective of their companions. Caring for a dog gives structure and routine to your day, keeping you active as you feed, walk, and train them. And anytime you need a cuddle or a slobbery but affectionate kiss, they will be there for you with a wag in their tail and devotion in their eyes.
So give your dog a good belly rub or a new squeaky toy or maybe even a new ENO dog collar made from excess Atlas Suspension Strap material (available this summer!). Unconditional love pours out of them all the time – it never hurts to give some back.
Thinking about getting you some puppy love? Check out awesome, local animal rescue centers like Brother Wolf!