To say that I'm a dog person would be an understatement! What's not to love about our four-legged canine companions? They are always available to provide whatever they feel we may need; often unaware of the fact that was exactly what we needed. You can always rely on a dog to act silly to make you laugh. Or placing their head on your lap at the exact moment that it is so desperately needed. Two of my favorite quotes about our furry friends are: "He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion." -anon. And "Dog. A kind of additional or subsidiary Deity designed to catch the overflow and surplus of the world's worship."- Ambrose Bierce.
I agree with these quotes; one hundred percent that dogs are meant to be paired with a human counterpart. However, dogs have the abilities of being more than just our faithful companions. They are some of the hardest workers around in all fields. They work on farms, in law enforcement, and hold a variety of jobs within the medical field. Anyone who has had the opportunity to spend time with a dog will agree that they can improve your life both physically and emotionally.
One of the best jobs I believe a dog has is as a therapy dog. Doing therapy dog work is rewarding for humans and dogs alike. If you don't know what a therapy dog does, a therapy dog is trained to provide affection, comfort, and support to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, disaster areas, or areas where a tragedy has occurred. If you happen to see a therapy dog at work in one of these areas, they are providing specific help to those people. The people often don't even know the phenomenal support they are receiving from a dog who thinks he or she is just getting love from another new friend.
When you see one working in a school, they are benefiting students with an increase in confidence by lowering learning anxiety, which results in improved learning outcomes such as increases in reading and writing levels. It also enhances relationships with teachers and friends, because they are experiencing unconditional love and trust from an adorable, slobbery face, which helps them learn how to express feelings and have more trusting relationships. On college campuses, you see less stress and anxiety from students and an increase in energy and happiness from spending time with a dog. If more dogs were allowed in schools, we'd have smarter and more emotionally well-rounded students.
We all want to have better health both physically and mentally, at least we all hope to. Instead of spending an insane amount of money for medicines or visits to achieve those goals, it's so much easier to interact with a dog. There have been scientific studies showing that interacting with therapy dogs: lowers blood pressure, improves heart health, releases endorphins that have a calming effect, diminishes overall pain. Also, an increase in exercise, because they pull you out of the house to go on walks. Petting a dog produces a calming sensation that helps reduce the amount of medication that's required. Mentally, dogs lift spirits lessen depression. Forces you to be more social, so isolation and alienation diminish. You will discover that you can communicate more effectively. Forget about feeling bored, because your furry friend will provide hours of tireless entertainment.
Dogs are fantastic creatures, and yes, some breeds are predisposed to being more agreeable with humans as therapy dogs. Still, any breed can be excellent with a significant amount of ethical and quality training, whether by yourself or trained professionals. I have always said that dogs are for everyone, but not everyone should have a dog. Since therapy dogs are also pets that have an owner who wants to give back to the community with this fantastic service, they spent a considerable amount of time before taking in a dog. If you think this is something you would like to do, please talk to people who do it and do your research.