Loving A Dog—A Healthy Decision
Life without a dog? Unthinkable. But did you know loving your dog is good for you too?
What was once a species for hunting and gathering some 14,000+ years ago, dogs have transformed into ‘best friend’—for both men and women. However, nowadays, we’ve become much more than mere best friends.
Over the centuries we have learned to understand dogs like no other creature. That understanding speaks to the bond between dog and human. Ask any dog person. Dogs and humans—the agreement between these two (2) different species—is a much richer relationship than once thought.
Dogs aren’t just pets.
Dogs were once used only for hunting and herding. In return, humans were responsible to keep them warm and fed. These days, that’s just not enough. The love between dog and human has developed so much deeper. The responsibility of dog ownership has amplified.
This kind of dog love is good for our health as well.
Dog Love: A Healthy Connection
The need for species we call ‘dog’ to be used for hunting over the years has dissolved. As dogs became more attentive to us, we became more enamored with them. Over the years, we became smitten with this loyal, furry friend.
Today, we share our homes and meals with these creatures. (Some dogs are even allowed under the covers.) Dogs help us through the most trying chapters of our lives and assist us with activities of daily living. They keep us company when people aren’t around and learn to love us despite our faults.
Dogs know how to share our space.
Loving Your Dog Is Good For (Both Of) You
1. Dogs Provide Companionship
There’s a natural connection between dog and human—a partnership and unmistakable bond between these two creatures.
The secret may be how dogs look at us.
While dogs often use their eyes to dominate other species, they use eye contact to solidify the dog-human bond. According to a Japanese team of researchers, there’s a significant chemical change that occurs when humans gaze into the eyes of their best buddy. Oxytocin, a hormone known for social bonding, is determined to significantly increase when gazing between the two (2) species occurs.
“Urine samples were collected from 21 pairs of dogs and owners, before and after experimental sessions in which the owners petted the dogs, talked to the dogs, and often simply gazed at the dogs. The oxytocin levels of both the dogs and the humans were higher at the end of the sessions—and they were highest in the pairs in which the most gazing took place. In this friendship, chemistry—literally—matters.” —Jeffrey Kluger, Time Magazine
2. Dogs Are Family
Dogs provide companionship and they’re considered part of the family. They go everywhere with us. And when we can’t take them with us, we get a Sitter. Sometimes dogs stay at daycares or at exclusive pet hotels that cater to their every bark.
Accommodations for pets consist of lodging and boarding. However, sometimes these facilities host birthday parties, football games, “Gotcha Day” celebrations, and crazy-hat-dress-up gatherings.
This kind fur family fun makes for amazing photo opportunities too!
There’s a closeness between dog and human that’s often misunderstood. The bond is intense.
Dogs aren’t human children, but the bond can be just as intense. If given the opportunity, most people feel better knowing that they can select their fur family. In return, dogs will most often choose human company over other species too.
Children learn responsibility when they care for a dog. Research suggests kids with pets in the home have less allergy troubles. Also, they seem to learn empathy when they’re tasked with taking care of a pet—particularly a dog.
As a pet guardian, children have a better chance of becoming a healthy human being at an early age. Of course there’s always a sweet spot on what age is best for children to own a pet. That age depends on your individual household.
In addition, elderly individuals gain a sense of belonging with a beloved pet in their life. Dog ownership allows adults a way to connect on a deeper level. Most notable, caring for a dog gives seniors more opportunities to be social with other dog owners.
Your #1 Fan
When you arrive home, your dog will act as if they just won the lottery.
What other creature will be just as happy to see you whether you’re gone for five (5) minutes or five (5) hours? This cheerful greeting is always a welcome surprise. Now that’s a family you want by your side!
“They love you more than you love yourself.” —Bill O.
3. Dogs Have Important Jobs
Dogs are courageous and stand by their master.
Some dogs protect our country, others guard our family. Still others are trained to detect evil or imprint harmful substances. Dogs can also be a remedy for many human ailments—both mental and physical conditions.
Dogs are capable of picking up on things that we can’t identify. With this “sixth sense”, a canine can detect when there’s something wrong with us before we’re even aware there’s a problem.
Dogs can “see” with their noses. They use several hundreds of thousands of olfactory cells and can detect time, instincts, and human emotional states with the most immediate and visceral ability. With their nose, dogs experience the world much more vividly than humans.
Yes, dogs are fascinating.
More Than Love: Dogs With Occupations
- Emotional Support Dogs
- Library appearances (children reading sessions)
- Travel necessities
- Search & Rescue Dogs
- 9/11 Heroes
- K9 Officers
- Weather disasters
- Registered Service Dogs
- Drug detection
- Explosive detection
- Medical emergencies, depression, anxiety, high blood pressure
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Registered Therapy Dogs
- Assisted living (resident visits)
- Courtroom appearances (children bravery to testify)
- Hospitals visits (patient healing)
- Terminal hospice (end of life patient comfort)
“Without this dog, I wouldn’t know how to function.” —Robert S., Veteran
“Patients will show improvement in many more ways than just love. Having her around is good for everyone.” —John H., LPTA
Speaking about his devoted therapy dog, “Laycee”, Physical Therapist, John H., LPTA at Regency at Shelby Township confirms the important job his Black Labrador Retriever has at his place of business.
- Residents who are in therapy sessions will have noticeable improvements from their sit to stand to walk exercises. There’s a noticeable difference in residents. They follow Laycee across the room and they’ll begin to move more. When she isn’t here, they tend to shy away.
- Once in the mere presence of Laycee, patients will become more verbal if they’re normally quiet.
- Residents (and staff alike) who are non-expressive will suddenly become more exuberant and will tend to perk up with a therapy dog by their bedside.
- In contrast, with Laycee in the therapy room, patients with a high level of anxiety instantly change. She allows people to stay calm and remain even tempered.
- In the presence of Laycee, we notice significant heart rate reduction in patients. Positive neurotransmitters in the brain ignite and the resident’s body tends to relax more.
If you ever sit and watch residents at a nursing facility, they sometimes get hostile. An irritated man who was ready to run people over and collide into them with his wheelchair, suddenly becomes calm when a therapy dog enters his space. As it turns out, all he wanted was to pet the dog.
4. Dogs Keep You Active
If you have a four-legged workout buddy, you’re more apt to move more. Make time to get out and get active with your dog.
Studies have shown that people who own a dog are more active than people who don’t own a dog. People are overall healthier and happier when they exercise. Therefore, when you exercise with your dog, there’s double benefit.
“My dog got me moving again. When Buffy hurt her knee, I had to take her to water therapy to strengthen her legs. The aquatics peaked my interest. The next week, I signed up for my own water aerobics class.” —Denise T.
Whether you stroll to the end of the street, or you’re training for a marathon, exercising together provides an opportunity to stay in shape together.
No longer are dogs just your snacking buddy. They can become your best workout partner! And, they’ll hold you accountable for your actions—or for your inactivity.
Have to run errands during the weekend but still want your dog to get their workout in? $10 Weekends: Doggy Day Camp is now available in your area. Stop in today, ask questions, and schedule your evaluation for your dog.
5. Dogs Need You
More than love, dogs need you.
Dogs give you the chance to be responsible for something other than yourself. They show extreme loyalty, hope, and devotion—just by looking at you.
Dogs show you how they see the world from their perspective. In exchange, we have a responsibility to provide them more than just food and shelter. You need to allow them playtime and toys. And, you need to play with them too.
So there is a bit of condition attached to that ‘unconditional love’ after all.
“Dog owners tend to think they’re doing right by their pets, but most could do better; improving communication between dog and human is an important first step.” —Jeffrey Kluger, Time Magazine
Your dog allows membership into their world. You owe it to them to bond with them, any opportunity that you have. Communication goes both ways. Listen to them, pamper them, sing to them, love them. What about teaching them a new trick ?
Be in tune to your dog’s needs. Your snuggly friend needs you! When you master understanding your dog, loving your dog is real good for both of you.
Now that’s love.
Be Good To Yourself. Love Your Dog.
Your dog has the uncanny ability to love you back.
Dogs and humans take on each other’s characteristics. Our lives intertwine. Learn from your dog’s behaviors and attributes. There’s always room in your heart to love a dog.
Love them like they love you.
Whether you believe in dog love, or not, we might agree that dogs give our lives more meaning. With dogs, we live in the moment and we laugh more. We might even know people that share your endless capacity to love dogs.
Your Dog’s ‘Best Things’—With Love, From Our Dog People:
- Tail wags
- Unconditional love
- Undeniable bond
The More Love The Better
Your dog, your family—your life. There’s no replacement for this kind of bond. Your dog looks at you and you melt. You’d do anything for them. You’re just that kind of person—you’re our kind of person.
And this kind of love is good for all of us.
What will YOU do for love? Visit: Best Friends Pet Hotel or call your favorite Best Friends center.
About The Author:
Christine A. Bournias resides in Michigan with her 2-pack; two new beautiful adopted miracles. As her “Angelwriter”, Nicodemus (1997-2010) is the wisdom behind the stories she shares. Christine champions the magnitude of building the bond between a dog and their person(s) by means of respectful communication and enduring admiration.