When I was in the midst of my personal struggle and journey it was at the time that my family decided to buy a dog for my younger sister Alice. She had been nagging them for so long for one, 6 years in fact when finally my father gave in and bought a beautiful little Westland Terrier from the rural location of Wales. Not only is he a family pet but he became an integral part of my healing process from depression and anxiety to finding my path again in life. In this blog post I discuss reasons why having a dog in your life can transform your situation.
Fun and lively nature
When depressed we tend to find things we used to enjoy difficult to pursue or find the motivation to do them. A dog’s nature is rarely down and always living for the moment, there is nothing they like more than to play ball, fetch, go for walks, socialise and have as much fun as possible whilst being carefree. This nature is infectious and you can’t help but smile at a happy dog even when you are feeling low or challenged.
They need you
Owning a pet is a big responsibility and they require you to care for them, feed them, walk them and clean them. All these tasks require you to push yourself out of your feelings of sadness and do what you can to ensure they are happy and getting the exercise and life that your dog deserves. Having responsibility of an animal’s life can start changing your habits that are keeping you stuck and self-loathing to beginning to see life a little different.
Loving unconditionally is something most humans struggle with unfortunately, tend to love with conditions in place. If you are family, if you are deemed good in the eyes of society, if there is some benefit to them for caring for you etc.
A dog asks for none of these things other than to be cared for in return and be a part of your life. This unconditional condition of a dog means they will always be there for you in times of need and why they are probably known as ‘man’s best friend’.
Dogs are highly sociable and if you are someone who sufferes with social anxiety can force you into situations of talking to other dog owners. This then breaks down the barriers of your anxiety and helps you realise that people and social situations are not something to be feared as most people are good and will put you back into situations that were once almost impossible for you to confront.
They need exercise
Exercise doesn’t just work on your physical body but it also helps your mind and brain too. Dogs need at least 1 walk a day and if you aren’t leaving the house much gives you a reason to get out and about. Setting small routes and working to larger ones as you gain in confidence can help you overcome feelings of depression and release endorphins in your brain improving your feeling of overall wellbeing.
Why a dog can help improve your mood
The above 5 points are only some of the reasons why a dog can transform your life but deciding to own a dog is also a big commitment and can be costly to own with vet fees, food and care you have to ensure you can afford to add one to your family.
Please take careful consideration of your financial situation to see whether it is possible to add this new family member to your life but if you feel you are ready it can be one of the best decisions you can make in your life. Do you own a dog? Have they helped you improve your wellbeing?