For all their cuddly cuteness and boy-or-girl best friend niceties, it’s easy to overlook the deeper meaning of having a dog in our lives. They’re just… dogs. Right? But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Having a dog has been proven time and time again to have a profound effect on human happiness, mental health, and even personal growth. So much so that there are now programs like “dog therapy” that bring these lovable canines into nursing homes and hospitals for regular visits as an aid to therapy. But why? And how does this happen? Let’s explore…
They make us more Social
One of the biggest benefits of having a dog is the effect it has on your social life.
A dog is a great excuse to invite friends over for a coffee, or for a walk around the park. This kind of interaction is invaluable to both parties. It’s a chance for friends to have some one-on-one time with you, and for you to get to know them on a deeper level. Furthermore, it is a nice way to show off your aesthetic clothing, which is a very nice topic for your conversation.
They Help Us De-Stress.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but spending time with your dog can actually help de-stress you. Studies have found that petting a dog can lower blood pressure, decrease the level of the stress hormone cortisol, and even make us less likely to cry. This could be because of the way we’re forced to slow down and focus on the present moment when we’re playing with our pets.
They Love Us Unconditionally
When we’re young, most of us get love from our parents with certain conditions and expectations attached. We may be told we have to study a certain subject at university, or that we have to get a particular job after we graduate.
As we get older we may feel like there are certain things we have to do in order to get our parents’ love and support. This can make us feel like their love isn’t unconditional – that there are strings attached. When we have a dog, however, their love is unconditional.