The world has always known that dogs play an important part in our lives. The role of the dog has certainly evolved over time. Previously the primary role was that of a working dog. Dogs were used for many centuries for chores; specifically hunting, pulling, herding and guarding. As history has evolved, so has the dog’s role. In today’s society, dogs are still used for working purposes, but now more than ever they have a personal companionship role. The world has transformed to accommodate dogs in our lives. You can now travel with your dog, stay in a hotel with your dog and in some places, you can even take your dog to dinner.
My life has paralleled the world’s evolution. I grew up on a beef farm with working dogs. On the farm, dogs were strictly working or hunting. I got my first pet dog, Bauer about a year and a half ago. I was shocked by the impact my furry little friend has on my life. The best perk of owning a dog is the health benefits! Dogs are fabulous for you, your children and even your spouse.
Of up-most importance is mental relief. No matter how bad my day is at work, I come home to a wiggle butt with a big smile and I can’t help but smile back. Instantly all frustrations melt away. When you leave your frustrations at the door, there is less conflict among the members of the household. Research supports less depression and less stress among dog owners than those who do not have dog in their life. It is important to remember the reversal as well. A dog has evolved over time from being a part of a pack. When you bring a dog into your life, they rely sole on their family for companionship and affection.
After we are reunited, we move onto the next benefit of owning a dog, physical activity. My dog expects a walk regardless of the weather. I have expanded my wardrobe for all weather conditions (great excuse to shop for new outerwear) and we are happily on our way. Prior to having a dog, I would come home exhausted from a long day of work; make an excuse not to exercise, and plop on the couch. My dog is not a fan of excuses and is pretty persistent if I try to avoid those cherished excursions. Walks are a great activity for the entire family.
Dogs are also a huge help in the social aspect of our worlds. Dogs promote conversations among those who are shy or in social isolation. Dog owners have more interactions than non-owners. I can attest to this! When I take Bauer for a walk, we stop no less than three times so that people can admire him and ask questions about him. I have met so many of my neighbors that I may have never known prior to owning a dog. This concept is great if you have an especially shy or quiet child as well.
Lastly let’s take a look at the pure medical benefits of dogs in our lives. Dogs have many talents. They can predict seizures and identify cancer. Research has shown reduced blood pressure among dog owners. People with dogs tend to take less prescription medications. Research has also shown that children raised in households with dogs have less allergies (including eczema) and asthma. Ok, let’s not forget about the men in our lives. Men who have had heart attacks live longer if they have a dog and men with dogs also have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels than those without dogs.
Overall, there are many positive aspects to bringing a dog into your life. Mental, physical, social and medical aspects are affected by the dogs in our lives and research has supported all that we already knew about “man’s best friend”. If you already have a dog, maybe this article will help you appreciate them just a little more for all the benefits they bring to us.
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