Your dog can give you….
Motivation – when you need a reason to get out of bed, its licking you in the face! Even if you don’t feel like facing the day, eating or going out anywhere, a dog needs you to help it achieve those things. Exercise is very good for improving mood and relieving stress and having a four-legged friend to do it with makes it more achievable
Confidence to Connect – anxiety and depression can leave you feeling isolated and not wanting to go out. A dog gives you a reason to get out of the house and ‘someone’ to do it with. Fellow dog walkers will often say hello. That brief human interaction is valuable – be deliberate in saying “Good morning” to another dog walker, you don’t have to have a full-blown discussion! Its enough to just connect in a small way but it also an opportunity to engage further if you want to e.g. enrolling in training classes for instance would allow you to meet with like-minded people. All of us benefit from saying “Hello” or even just giving and receiving a smile.
Purpose, Value and Worth – We all need a little routine and a sense of purpose. A dog can give you that. And they reward you as your relationship grows – they want your company and attention. Each small success in training your dog can give you a great sense of achievement everyday….. my two make me very proud every mealtime when they wait patiently for the command “eat”!! :-D
Comfort and Company – when you’re sad or lonely they can be great company and often can tell when you are upset. Stroking a dog is very soothing and is in fact known to reduce heart rate. You can even talk to them and they won’t answer you back or judge you negatively no matter what you have to say! (providing of course you’re not shouting at them!)
…..Owning a pet is a commitment and responsibility that should be taken seriously and sensibly. I would always advise you do your research and consider whether you can provide for its needs for the duration of its life before getting any pet (and of course I would always advocate for looking at rescuing!) but if you love your dog and take care of him, he will love you unconditionally!!
If you’re not able to commit to owning your own you could consider offering to help a friend or neighbour with theirs or volunteering at a rescue.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapist, Integrative Psychotherapist, Nurse Specialist (Mental Health), Mum, Youth Worker, Trainer.......