Pets are excellent listeners and communicate so much without speaking a single word.
As a dog owner for most of my life, I have experienced so much unconditional love that it has been one of the most wonderful gifts I've given myself.
I've always adopted abandoned dogs thinking I am saving them when, in fact, the dog always helps me and brings positive changes to my life.
My heart is immediately touched with love, gratitude, joy and compassion when I look into my dog’s big brown eyes. If I am half the hero she thinks I am, what an amazing person I would be. She relies on me for her food, shelter companionship and care. She must think I'm an amazing hunter because she never misses a meal; yet, I think she has food-amnesia because as soon as she swallows her food she looks at me for more. Hmmm, what's up with that?
I am a “dog person” but any type of pet can provide their owner with love and companionship. Pets have a positive impact on health and well-being. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, having a pet around decreases blood pressure and cholesterol, which is no surprise to me.
A highlight of my day sometimes is the simple act of opening the door to my home and being greeted by my Zoey. Her tail wags uncontrollably and, I like to think she is saying, "Hello! Where ya been all day?"
She barks and jumps around with her tongue dangling as she unleashes her excitement and joy on me. The funniest part is, I could walk outside to get the mail and come back a few minutes later and the "Hello! Where ya been all day" routine is repeated. Priceless!
Have you ever noticed that a dog's personality and lifestyle often mimics their owner’s personality? Perhaps, this is a great validation of a positive lifestyle or a sign to make some changes. A happy dog mirrors a happy owner.
Our pets provide a great way to keep us active and remind us to take breaks.
An animals natural instinct is to take care their body. A good, long stretch is usually the first they do when getting up from a resting position. It would be a good idea to follow their example and add stretching to our daily routine.
Having a pet reminds us to enjoy life’s simple pleasures. Pets are content with simple things like a ball, a bone, a chew toy, etc., and it gives them hours of pleasure.
Life is simple; most humans complicate it. I think the bumper sticker, "Wag More, Bark Less", makes a good point and, if practiced, can give everyone a more optimistic perspective on life.
In the New York Times article
, "Forget the Treadmill, Get A Dog
", there are several references to the weight loss benefits of owning our four-legged friends. A Michigan State University study of people with dogs indicates an increase of 30-minutes of daily activity, five times a week over those without dogs.
In another study at the University of Missouri statistics indicated dog-walkers increase their walking speed up to 28%, while those walking with humans was up only 4%. I suppose the lesson from this study is that dogs aren't concerned with weather conditions or excuses; they're obviously engaged in the walking experience.
When we take our dogs outside for walks we get much needed Vitamin D from the sun as well as social and psychological benefits because you stop and talk to others who are also out and about. My dog is very social and insists on making new friends wherever she goes.
Pets help pull us out of our comfort zones and improve relationships by breaking down boundaries. I love that dogs see beyond the size and species; to them everyone is a potential new friend.
When we are alone with our four-legged friends, we can relax and be silly or let out our bottled up emotions. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has reaped therapeutic assistance from talking to or just hanging out with my dog. A delightful example is in this short video clip: "Puppyhood
Years ago, before studies showed the benefits of Pet Therapy, I would take my dog Ariel, a black labrador retriever, into Senior Living Centers for the residents to enjoy. To see their faces light up in delight as they would pet her was an unforgettable experience for me. The residents would often share stories about pets they had owned and the happiness and support the pet brought to their lives.
Maya Angelou's quote about human behavior, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel
" can also be applied to the way pets make us feel.
Indeed, pets make life better. Enjoy my blog post: Cheyenne - A Dog Story
Until next month, TCOY!