Did you know that October is Adopt a Shelter Pet Month? I am a big fan of rescues and dogs that need rehoming. I especially have a thing for senior pups. (I like cats too, but I am pretty allergic, so I stick with dogs.)
Not everyone is suited to be a pet owner. It’s expensive and time-consuming. It is also one of the best things I have done to add happiness to my life. My boyfriend has commented that since I started adopting dogs, he can see my heart growing more open. I think part of that is that I like giving these old guys a soft, last, place to land. But I know when I take them in that my time is somewhat limited. And though it pains me, there is something about that cycle of deep love and loss that has changed me as a person for the better.
Dogs have also helped me get in shape. It was my rambling hound dog that taught to me to walk this city of ours. He and I traveled everywhere. And I set a twice-daily walking schedule with him that works for me and the dogs I have now. Walking, we bond as a pack, all of us get exercise, and the sights and smells are good for our brains. I’ve also noticed that because I am outside every day I feel closer to the changing seasons. I actually notice flowers coming up in the spring and the first leaves falling in autumn. There has been a bit of research about how being out in green spaces can be good for our mental health, and I feel that too. I live in the city, but still, there are trees, lawns, and parks. Seeing them is good for my soul.
I’ve had people tell me that they don’t have pets because of the mess. I get that! It’s a pain. I’ve switched to indoor/outdoor rugs for easy cleaning and stain-mastered furniture. There are more ways it can be managed, I suppose, like not letting pets on furniture, but having my dogs snuggle with me is one of the greatest joys of my day. Why deny myself that? Besides, the way I figure it, it’s their house too.
And this is one of the ways I have found to “let go.” I can easily get worked up about cleanliness and that my home is tidy. Having dogs helps me to let go a little and just relax. I try to learn from them and go with the flow a little more.
I have friends that have purchased pups from a breeder. I get it. They have a specific breed they want and they have the time and ability to train. Me, I have a busy life. I need a dog that is going to move into my household comfortably right away. My senior guys are all housetrained and happy for soft beds and long walks. I have fairly few behavior issues I need to deal with. (Although if you are into the puppy thing, plenty of local shelters get puppies on the regular.)
So, if you have room in your household and your heart; if you have a little extra in your budget you can spare; if you could give a four-legged buddy a safe space, go adopt. It’s good for your head, your health, and your heart.