Warning – I keep getting alerts on my phone that I am running out of storage. So, I am going to take all the little fun memes, thoughtful quotes, and meaningful screenshots and get them out of my phone and into the blog. This is a better place to store them anyway – and gives me a chance to write about why they are important.
So, if you know me in person, you know that I am a dog person. I’ve mentioned my guys before. There is my Cairn Terrier, Duncan, and my pit-bull/husky mix, Jack Dempsey, known mostly as “Dempsey.” Both of these fellows came to me in their older years. Duncan was a re-homing situation and was 11 when he joined my household. Dempsey has been living with me about a month now. He was adopted from a shelter. He is eight.
The reason I have kept this little cartoon on my phone is that it is so true. My dogs love me completely, and I feel it. My boyfriend and I have talked about my love of dogs, and how the wonderful animals who have come through my life, have opened up my heart. I can’t imagine ever living without a dog (or two,) ever again.
Having a pet can also increase levels of oxytocin. There was an article in Science about how not only do humans bond emotionally when we look into each other’s eyes, the same thing happens with dogs. The reason is due to oxytocin. Oxytocin is one of the body’s “feel good” hormones that promotes bonding. It turns out that staring into a dog’s eyes has the same effect on the owner… and the dog. How cool is that?
But it’s not just love and affection, even the CDC recognizes the health benefits of having a pet. Benefits like:
- Decreased blood pressure
- Decreased cholesterol levels
- Decreased triglyceride levels
- Decreased feelings of loneliness
- Increased opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities
- Increased opportunities for socialization
Now, pet ownership isn’t for everyone. For one thing, it can be expensive. Vet bills, in particular, can be a lot for some people. According to a Harvard Health article regarding the benefits and risks of pet ownership:
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the average pet owner spends about $500 per year on a pet, although estimates from other organizations put annual expenses as high as $1,600 per year.
My personal experience is that it is far more than that – but I tend to go on the high side when it comes to pet care.
Also, not everyone has the disposition or the lifestyle suited for having a pet. People are busy or travel a lot. Those that have mobility issues or autoimmune system disorders might have a hard time handling the cleanup and care.
However, I always say that my first dog, Hermes, was my first trainer. Having a dog got me out walking twice a day, every day. It was good for him and it was good for me. I started getting stronger and losing weight and that inspired me to keep going. I had a four-legged accountability partner with big brown eyes who needed me.
While I would never suggest someone get a pet to lose weight, I would say if you have a dog – they would probably love a walk! And the fresh air would do you some good too. And if you have room in your heart and in your home for a little buddy, there are some fantastic shelters here in Michigan with dogs, cats, bunnies and other critters.