Pet Therapy – Our furry friends & well-being

Well-Being: A state of being comfortable, healthy, and/or happy.

Growing up on a farm with animals [horses, cows, dogs, cats…], I have taken for granted just how large of an affect these four legged friends have on ones well-being.

My Dog, Cuda (in photo) is 4 years old, and is just the best! Moving around from city to city, he’s one of the only things that stays consistent.

His routine: eat, take me for a walk, poop, play, cuddle, pass out, repeat.

Living away from most of my family and friends, and adjusting to a new city each fall, he helps me ‘get out there’, literally.

Do you notice that when you’re alone, whether it’s walking up the street to grab a coffee or heading back to the car at the grocery store, people rarely look up to say hello to a stranger? That would be too “awkward”…BUT… if you mix a dog into the equation, things look different. with Cuda, many passer-by’s will smile, stop, say hello, ask what type of breed my dog is, pet him, and say, “have a nice day!”

Cuda has literally made me friends as we walk around our new cities; his cuteness unknowingly drawing in “hello’s” from complete strangers.

It’s no new discovery that the companionship of animals (dogs more specifically) is linked with better health. In fact, its been studied for decades, but we should keep talking about it!

Not only is the companionship important, but his need to exercise gets me outside in the fresh air daily. That seams like no hard feat, right? Even though we may consider ourselves active, how often do you actually get an extended period of fresh air? [ I don’t know that walking from your front door to your car counts…]

Studies are showing that being out in nature has real effects on energy and happiness. Find a park or walking path near by, take your furry friend (or join your friend and their dog on their walk!) and take a deep breath in. It’s too cold out? Dress warm. The benefit of walking outside in cold weather…? the body burns more calories! Win-win.

This photo, (though not the best quality) makes me LOL just looking at it. Comfy at home, in sweatpants, watching football with my hubby, Cuda unknowingly decreasing my cortisol level (stress hormone) and increasing serotonin (“happy” hormone).

Thinking about getting a buddy? Go visit a local shelter where there are many sweet fur babies needing a good home with someone to reciprocate their love. They need us… and we need them just as bad!

Sources:

http://psycnet.apa.org/buy/1990-31740-001

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4248608/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0272494409000838