Originally posted July 3, 2017.
When you meet someone who owns a dog, you might think that they are simply dog-lovers, and you may very well be right. After all, these days, what reason could there be to own a pet other than because you simply like pets? But why might that person actually like dogs in particular? There are many things that a dog does for you beyond just, well, being a dog, and everyone gets something different out of their relationship with their dog. Determining what you want to get out of a relationship with a dog is the first and most important step in the going-from-not-dog-owner-to-dog-owner process.
How a Dog Can Change You
Many people like owning and raising a dog because of the psychological impact a dog can have on you. Pets, and particularly dogs, have an impact on every stage of human development, from childhood on through old age. Children must develop a sense of responsibility for the dog’s needs – from taking the dog out to urinate or defecate to ensuring that the dog is safe, well fed, and clean. Children must also learn to care for the animal personally, and also how to communicate with the animal in a way that the dog will understand.
This relationship can build confidence and a sense of what friendship means in the child’s life. All of these are qualities that you want to encourage in your children, and a pet can do exactly that. Let’s not forget that a pet’s life is enriched by their relationship with a caring, responsible child, too – that dog will be there to protect your child as a lifelong, devoted friend.
For an adult, a pet isn’t so much a teacher as a companion, especially for adults who live alone; coming home to an empty home can be rather disheartening, after all. Furthermore, having a companion to provide stimulation when you get home can keep you from feeling like work is all you have at the end of a weekday; instead, you have someone to make contact with, connect to, and grow alongside.
How a Dog Can Help You
The social aspect of pet-owning isn’t all there is to owning a dog. There is also the health benefit – yes, owning a dog can actually improve your health. For one who is disabled, a pet can be of real service, especially a dog who is trainable, obedient, and loyal. Individuals who are blind can use a dog as a guide, whereas individuals who are deaf can use dogs to react to signals and other elements of sound that are important to receive for your safety.
Many scientific studies suggest that the presence of a pet in the household can decrease stress, blood pressure, and anxiety levels in everyone in the house, leading to happier, healthier, more stable lives. Furthermore, in individuals who are recovering from an illness or surgery, pets have been shown to improve and speed up the recovery process.
Within a therapeutic, psychological, or social context, a dog can always add something more – something meaningful – to your life and the lives of those you love and care about. Indeed, with time you may be quite surprised at the impact that a dog can have on you personally. The connection that you form with your dog is one that will come to last for years, and may even be one of the most important and pleasing friendships of your life.
+Neil Kilgore is a dog owner, dog lover and the Jack (Russell) of all trades at Greenfield Puppies in Lancaster Pa. He regularly blogs about puppies, breeders and dog care advice on the Greenfield Puppies website.