We Got a Dog This Week and You Should Too
Adding a new pet has decreased my depression symptoms, given more motivation to go outside often, and increased my joy. You can experience this too and give life to an animal who otherwise will be euthanized due to extreme overcrowding in shelters.
Meet Princess Eloise Blueberry! No I had no say in the name she was given, my children alone get that credit! I have no idea what breed she is, but she’s an incredibly sweet girl with lots of love. Right now she’s asleep about three feet from me and looking happy and content. She’s a rescue dog, so I was able to do my part to save one animal from the needle. It’s super important to remember that if you’re looking to get an animal, there are thousands of waiting animals at your local shelters waiting and waiting for a new home. Many if not all of them will end up being euthanized due to the extreme overpopulation and irresponsibility of owners who surrender their dog when they become inconvenient. Don’t add to that statistic!
Regarding Animals Placed in Shelters and Euthanasia Rates:
According to the ASPCA,
“Approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.3 million are dogs and 3.2 million are cats” and regarding euthanasia rates, “ Each year, approximately 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized (670,000 dogs and 860,000 cats)”(https://www.aspca.org/animal-homelessness/shelter-intake-and-surrender/pet-statistics).
This is saddening and staggering to realize that so many animals are put to sleep every year when they they could be adopted by loving families and given wonderful homes. There are lots of reasons this is the case. A lot of animals are strays that either got lost or were dumped for whatever reason. Many are owner surrenders, and quite a few are given up due to health reasons. Regardless, this is a huge problem.
If you’re looking for a companion animal, I would seriously suggest adopting a dog from a shelter. There are so many loving, adorable animals in desperate need of a home. Don’t let the fear of the unknown stop you from making one of these adorable animals your best friend!
Animals are also helpful with various health related issues, such as lack of activity, depression/anxiety, and others. Here's a quick overview of some of these issues that dogs may help alleviate.
Regarding Animals and Depression:
Rover.com, a popular website has some interesting thoughts on how dogs help with depression or anxiety (something I suffer with daily),
“Dr. Kangas and Certified Behaviorist Colleen Demling weigh in on some of the other ways dogs can help those suffering from depression:
Responsibility for their well-being. “A dog needs to be fed, needs to be walked, and needs to be pet, so on days when a person feels least motivated, a thump of a happy tail motivates a person to get back to living,” Demling says.
Unconditional love. “This 100% acceptance without judgment when a person is depressed, anxious, lonely, wearing the same clothes as yesterday and can’t get out of bed helps people feel like they have a true friend during their difficulties,” Demling says.
Recognize signs of a panic attack. “The mere presence or non-reaction to a stimulus of a trusted companion often calms an attack,” Demling explains. “Dogs can also be trained to use passive methods to block strangers from approaching their handler unexpectedly.”
Staying connected. “In today’s society, with the advance of internet and technological connection, we are losing real interpersonal connection, and that is contributing to more emotional problems and disorders,” Dr. Kangas explains. “Love and connection does exist in the world, and animals are a great resource to find this within one’s life.” “ (https://www.rover.com/blog/service-dogs-depression-anxiety/)
These are powerful reasons to adopt a dog, or get a service animal if you are suffering from severe anxiety or depression. They can truly save your life, especially if you are prone to suicidal thoughts or have seriously considered ending your life. An animal you are responsible for can help anchor you to this world and provide a reason to stay around and this is so important!
Regarding Dogs and Physical Health:
Dogs are animals that need exercise as well as us. Plus, if you’re in an apartment as I am, dogs will need to be walked so they can do their business outside, NOT inside. Medical News Today, a website summarizing research facts, says this:
“The most prominent such lifestyle factor is physical activity. There is no way around it: if you own a dog, you have to commit to twice daily walks — and sometimes even more” (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322868#Dogs-make-people-feel-good_).
This leads to tons of extra steps that can help with medical conditions associated with lack of exercise and build up a pattern of increased physical activity that will improve your life.
Regarding emotional and social bonding:
Medical News Today also says:
“When we interact with dogs, our oxytocin levels shoot up. Since this is the hormone largely responsible for social bonding, this hormonal “love injection” boosts our psychological well-being. Previous studies analyzed in the review have revealed that dog owners have more positive social interactions, and that the presence of canine friends makes people more trusting…and also more deserving of trust” (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322868#Dogs-make-people-feel-good)
These are some very powerful reasons to own a dog. It is understandable if you don’t have the space, or restrictions are prohibiting you to own an animal, but even volunteering at local shelters or even running a dog walking business will help your physical and emotional health. Try it! You may end up finding a forever friend that will love you til their last breath.
Okay, off my soapbox, well sorta. My new baby has given me so much joy! She gets me outside, talking to people, and exercising more. I love her upside down snuggles when I’m just too tired to move, the motivation she gives me to actually do something, and the excitement I feel when I get to go home after school to spend time with her. My whole family is super excited to see her after a long day of school and work and she is so appreciative.
Facebook.com/garcpets (Galveston County Animal Resource Center)
About me: Tami Nieto
I’m a motivated mommy, future Psychology Bachelors of Science Student, and aspiring Behavior Analyst who writes things pertaining to raising children, employment struggles, poverty topics, and other things. Usually you can find me typing furiously on my laptop, obsessing over the financial markets, or studying whatever I feel like at the moment. You can follow me on twitter.com/@momtips4success, https://www.facebook.com/TamiMNieto and others. I love comments, responses, questions, and feedback. Thanks for reading!