Lately, it seems like I have been obsessed, OBSESSED with becoming a dad. No, not a real dad, (I’m nowhere near ready for that), but a dog dad. However in my momentary, although consistent and frequent lapses in rationality, I tend to romanticize what it would be like to be a dog dad. Those feelings are quickly smothered with logic, reasoning, and the horrid fact that at this point in my life I’d be a horrible dog dad (insert sad face emoji). However, knowing all this doesn’t stop a particular coworker of mine from trying to convince me to get a pupper. That brings us to this current installment of our blog, I thought I’d take a page from that coworker’s book and target those individuals who may be on the fence about getting a dog.
But this is a blog for a Sexual Assault Center… not a dog blog? Correct! And owning pets relates directly to healing from trauma and feelings of safety. At the base level, a dog is a constant and can help create routine, structure, and companionship in times when life feels out of control. Dogs can also become ESA and provide daily emotional support. Then at the top level, a dog can act as a service animal and can be trained to support, help, and protect people with various disabilities. I know people often think of physical disabilities such as blindness or seizures, but service dogs can also help with common mental health disorders that survivors struggle with, such as depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder, etc.
So for those on the fence, here are five reasons you should bite the bullet and get a dog
1. Unconditional Love
There is an old saying “Put your wife and your dog in the trunk of your car, leave for an hour, come back and see who's happy to see you*.” Dogs love you no matter what race, gender, orientation, religious creed you associate with. The joy of unconditional love is rewarding and arguably the best trait about having a little doggo. Additionally, with that love, dogs will forever support you, in their eyes you are the best thing since sliced bread. Imagine having a rough day full of stress and trauma triggers only to come home and be greeted by puppy hugs!
2. Workout Partner
Dogs, especially when they’re young, are energetic balls of fluff. They’re always getting into something they’re not supposed to or playing with something they have no business playing with. Why not use that energy and put it to something instructive? You have just had a long day and you're full of emotions and nervous energy, so you want to workout, but want a consistent partner. BOOM; get a doggo. Multi-task by taking your kiddo on a run that doubles as a potty break.
3. Dogs Lead to Laughter
Dogs are always doing kooky things or making weird faces that make anyone who sees them laugh. In fact it is backed by science that dog owners laugh more than people who own cats or no pets; according to a study by Society and Animals. A good laugh can decrease stress and muscle tension while increasing immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies. These facts not only cement the fact that you should get a dog, but also show that dogs are inherently better than cats.
4. Dogs can keep us healthy
A recent study from the National Academy of Sciences suggests dogs can help us become immune to various allergens by helping us develop microbes to combat them. In addition dogs can be trained to smell for seizures and act as an alert system for their partner or others. Dogs can give us a sense of service, grounded, and a sense to be needed.
5. Puppy Potpourri
Ok, so I couldn’t decide on a theme for this one so I’ll just list some reasons. They teach us responsibility and can be a precursor to parenthood. They provide security and will protect your home. Dogs can teach us selflessness at an early age. It teaches us that there are other beings that have their own separate needs outside of ours. Living with a dog can help add structure and routine with potty breaks, daily walks, and eating schedules. Having a routine can help combat stress, anxiety, and depression. Doggos can build confidence, studies suggest that kids who grow up in homes with dogs are more confident than kids who didn’t. Arguably the most important fact above all else, THEY’RE SOOO CUTE!
To summarize getting a dog will improve your mental health, physical health, mood, and overall life. Thanks for coming to my TED Talk. I have attached some articles in which I referenced during this post for your enjoyment.
* please do not lock any dogs or wives in trunks... even for a joke for a few seconds, don't do it.