Are you one of the 48% of American homes that call a dog a family member? If you do, I certainly understand why. Meet our Goldendoodle, Lilly…Also known as Silly Miss Lilly J Von Fluffenstein III Filbert de la Pickle Pad. Don’t ask why or how…it just is.
Dogs are amazing because of their unconditional love and totally empathic personalities. Lilly can immediately sense when we are stressed, sick, or sad. But she also embraces our happiness, excitement, and glee. No matter what the emotional state, Lilly is right there…our 42-pound lap dog ready to share in the joy or make things better. She loves to play and will bring us her favorite toy of the day when she is ready to fetch. She’ll then cuddle on the couch, roll onto her back, begging for the eternal belly rubs.
The benefits of the bonds that people have with their dogs, or any other pet for that matter, have been studied, and there is scientific evidence that dogs improve our overall wellbeing.
“The strength of the human-animal bond has been known for a long time, but scientific evidence about how it works was first published only about 30 years ago when a psychologist, Alan Beck of Purdue University, and a psychiatrist, Aaron Katcher of the University of Pennsylvania, actually measured what happens physically when a person pets a friendly and familiar dog. They found that the person’s blood pressure lowered, heart rate slowed, breathing became more regular and muscle tension relaxed-all of which are signs of reduced stress. Furthermore, a study published recently in the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine not only confirmed these effects but showed changes in blood chemistry demonstrating reduced amounts of stress-related hormones. It is interesting to note that these positive psychological effects work a lot faster than many drugs taken for stress since all of these effects occurred after only 5 to 24 minutes of pleasantly interacting with the dog.”
Now, I’m not trying to say that the love of a dog will negate the need for psychotropic medications, but my interactions with Lilly do enhance my mental wellness. That, combined with my medications, help me to maintain a more stable version of myself.
So if you’re having a good day, hug your dog. If you’re having a bad day, hug your dog. Not only will you feel great, but your dog will too!
Copyright Susie Krivacic 2018