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How owning a dog will improve your mental health.

How owning a dog will improve your mental health.


Hi, how are you?

Me?....oh I'm suffocating under the weight of my 'to do' list, feeling totally stressed and on the brink of tears mostly, thank you for asking.

Woe is me, and all that...the curse of the new age...we've all got gluttonous amounts on our proverbial plates, but mine feels dollhouse in dimension, with a life-size three course meal haphazardly balancing upon it.

Is it just me, or has someone been fiddling with the universal clock? Never have the days and weeks seemed so slender. There's just not enough time to boss at being a boss, whilst performing my wife and motherly duties, as well as running a house.

I've always had a great relationship with sleep but for the past year I've been waking up super early (4.30am today 😱) to start my day, just to get on top of things and give myself enough hours graft to keep my head above water.

So I'm going to keep this blog short (if you don't mind), as I've been trying to write it for a few days now. Ironically its content couldn't be more relevant to me and my current situation.

As you'll know, it's Mental Health Awareness Week here in the UK, so without further ado I wanted to pass on some pearls of wisdom on the benefits of having a dog in your life and the positive impact they have on mental health (believe me, without my three amazing best friends by my side I'm not sure I'd be sitting here right now writing this).



So why exactly are dogs the best mental health tonic this side of Sanityville?

Just the sheer pleasure a dog provides by being in your house cannot be underestimated. Let's think about that for a moment....

My standard morning involves coming downstairs into the kitchen where our three sleep and receiving the monster of all welcomes. They literally behave as though you were missing, presumed dead. When was the last time a person in your house did that?

Their companionship is just everything to me. I never feel alone in the house, because I am never alone in the house. They are the extra children we never had.

They are all the purpose a human needs; someone to look after and care for, and with that you get a hefty dose of unconditional love, whether you like it or not.

They make you more socially active. You have to take them for a walk every day (this is non-negotiable...and if you are one of those people who doesn't walk your dog every day, maybe leaving it in the house for eight hours at a time, I don't think you should own one...but that's another blog for another day.)



So when you are out there, not only are you breathing oxygen into your lungs to clear your head, and pumping happy hormones through your brain, but every single day you bump into other dog owners, and you chat, and I don't think you can underestimate the power of a good old chinwag.



Amongst others, I am now very friendly with Trevor, an elderly gentleman and his two whippets; I see Sean with his greyhound and we walk together; Elaine with her flat-coat retriever, the lady with the three Westies, Lorraine the school teacher with Freddie the rescue Tibetan Terrier...lovely people (as far as they've revealed so far...) who help share the burden of life.

It's literally therapy that doesn't cost a penny.



My Smart Watch also tells me that those daily walks are around 4km long and 6,000 steps. That's motivation for me every day to step out of my front door to simply do what needs to be done, whilst having a bloody great time.

 

Therapy dogs are the supreme beings, in my opinion. Dogs for the deaf, the blind, the disabled, those with epilepsy, the terminally ill, and the infirm, and of course, those with mental health conditions.


©️ Norbert the Therapy Dog

Do you know what? I could actually blather on for ever on the reasons for getting a dog if your mental health is teetering on the precipice, but that is not going to help that list of mine, which is currently growing faster than a Great Dane puppy.

Dog's save lives. Fact. So how about looking at adopting a dog from a local shelter, thereby saving two lives in one go...?

To find out how to go about adopting in the UK you could try -

https://www.battersea.org.uk/
https://www.bluecross.org.uk/rehome/dog
https://www.loveunderdogs.org/
https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/rehoming/

And this is a wonderful organisation who provide health and wellbeing to the community through therapy dogs -

https://petsastherapy.org/

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