As any owner will tell you, a dog is so much more than just a pet, they’re a valued companion and often a fully-fledged member of the family too. We all know homes where the dog has his own chair in the living room and his portrait above the fire and their own little Healthy Dog Treats tin that their owners fill with treats from https://theinnocentpet.co.uk/collections/dog-treats. Maybe it’s natural. After all, dogs and humans have been living together for at least 15,000 years. But more than that, the fun and enthusiasm that dogs bring to the simplest of activities can brighten the darkest of days and their love and devotion can be truly life changing.
More than man’s best friend
So it’s hardly surprising that dogs are leaping (excuse the pun) into the limelight concerning human well-being and mental health. Service dogs, dogs specifically trained to support independence for people living with severe psychological conditions, have recently become a much more recognised sight on our high-streets with several organisations, such as PADS scrambling to try to meet demand. And more and more people are singing the praises of the everyday emotional benefits of dogs. From news stories highlighting the reduction in stress and anxiety that dog ownership brings to the testimony from leading psychologists and researchers – it’s safe to say – dogs are having their day!
Perhaps it’s just their natural enthusiasm wearing off on us, or something more complex. If you happen to live in a corner of the world with a number of areas of natural beauty, a dog can be just the ticket to get you up and out to make the most of it. Likewise if your nearest park is a good mile away, a dog will be more than willing to pull you along to your destination. And as anyone who’s ever walked a dog will tell you, they are great for facilitating social contact with friends, neighbours and even complete strangers.
And apart from the exercise, the routine involved in dog ownership is also highly beneficial. Dogs must be fed, groomed and cared for, no matter what the weather or your mood. Simply the act of caring for another living creature does wonders for a person’s sense of worth. With a range of highly qualified vets as well as services providing dog walkers, sitters and dog grooming around the country, any worries we might have about being able to fully care for our dogs are greatly diminished.
An emotional connection
But you’ve probably heard it said, ‘they don’t really love you back. It’s just cupboard love’. Well, we have bad news for those naysayers. According to recent articles such as this one in The Telegraph, scientific evidence supports the theory that dogs recognise our mood. And you probably don’t need to be told, but scientists found that dogs experienced a surge of oxytocin (commonly called the love hormone) when their owners gazed into their eyes, a dramatic effect that the owners experienced too.
So let’s hear it for dogs! Be they big or small, scruffy or groomed and let’s continue to be the best of friends and care for each other for another few thousand years.