The many amazing reasons to have a pet in the home.
First of all, it IS a big responsibility taking on a dog because… like children, they need a lot of care and attention. Dogs are naturally very sociable animals and would get very lonely and anxious if left alone for too long. So if you’re prepared to do it right and treat the dog like a member of the family with the amount of love and respect that it deserves, the benefits of having a dog are huge.
It’s very special and humbling to experience the love and companionship of a dog and the incredible bonds of friendship that are formed together. There is nothing as amazing as the welcome home you get from a dog, even if you’ve only been out for fifteen minutes. The overwhelming love they are capable of is enormous and absolutely marvelous. Dogs are completely nonjudgemental and they give 100% unconditional love **** (see below)
2. Help prevent allergies
Infants and children exposed early on to animals tend to develop stronger immune systems overall. Having a dog or a cat in the home can lower a child’s likelihood of developing allergies, asthma, eczema and infections by as much as 33%.
3. Curing depression
Dogs keep us healthy physically AND mentally. They’re the best therapists of all. They keep us grounded and sane. People who have dogs in the house are a lot less likely to suffer from depression. One of the best cures for depression is to be physically active. There’s no better motivator than your dog to get you up and out for some exercise and fresh air. They’re the perfect personal trainers because they’re always so delighted and exhilarated to be out and their excitement is infectious. It’s always very enjoyable and therapeutic to be out with your dog no matter what the weather is like. Dogs are great entertainers. If we had a dollar or euro for every time they make us laugh, we’d all be millionaires. Spending quality time with your dog raises the levels of serotonin and dopamine. No matter how much something hurts, dogs will always make you feel better. Stroking and cuddling your dog is equally as soothing to the mind, heart and soul as deep meditation or prayer. If someone is intensely troubled, the silent and devoted nonjudgemental companionship and comfort of a dog can heal like no other source. They will love and help even the most empty and withdrawn person. The responsibility of a dog gives a great sense of value and purpose and importance to people that desperately need it. Dogs are often used to help war veterans that suffer from anxiety, depression and other forms of post traumatic stress disorder. They don’t care if you’re rich or poor, fat or thin, young or old. They don’t care if you’re not popular, smart, funny or attractive to other humans. They’re never offended if you’re antisocial. They’re not interested in whether or not you’re famous, or what you’ve achieved or done or not done in the past. They’re only concerned with the present, and they sincerely appreciate you and accept you just the way you are. To your dog, you are the nicest and most important person in the whole World.
4. Help people with special needs
It is well known that dogs are a great help with developing the social skills of kids with autism and other special needs.
5. Detecting health conditions
Trained dogs can detect a variety of health conditions including epileptic fits, hypoglycemia and even cancerous tumors. It is proven that dogs can detect lung cancer just by smelling human breath.
6. Lower levels of stress and anxiety
Gentle placid dogs are often brought to visit cancer patients to bring them love and comfort. This boosts their adrenaline which helps them to strengthen their resistance to the side effects of chemotherapy.
Studies have shown that Alzheimer’s patients have fewer anxious outbursts if there’s an animal in the home. Having a dog is also known to lower the risk of suffering a stroke. Heart related studies show that dog owners have lower blood pressure and cholesterol which minimizes the risk of heart attack. The calming affect of a dog lowers heart and lung pressure. Heart attack patients who have pets generally survive longer and have better recovery rates than those without.
7. They show us good example
They bring out the good in us and teach us to be better people by showing us so much kindness and love, happiness, gratitude, forgiveness, endless patience………. and pure adoration.
8. Helping people with disabilities
Dogs can be trained to bring things to you if you can’t walk. If you can’t hear or see, they will even lay down their life for you if you’re in danger.
So finally, if you’re seriously considering getting a dog, please please don’t do it for any selfish reasons or for any possible financial gains from a pedigree dog.***(see below), or for a status symbol macho image. Be compassionate – and do it for the right reason and save the life of a pound dog who has been waiting his whole life for you and will reward you so richly – and as long as they live, you will always be able to depend on them to be your loyal friend no matter what.
**** Dogs Give Unconditional Love ****
Dogs taken from abusive situations hold no grudges toward the human race. A half an ounce of kindness from a new person results in an abundance of affection from the formerly mistreated dog. Humans rarely have the capacity to so completely forgive and love under those circumstances.
Probably the biggest reason the dog has become man’s best friend is because we know that when it comes to love, a dog can always outdo us. The highest form of love, agape love, which is completely unconditional, is something that people often have to work at or grow into. Agape love seems to come naturally between parent and child, but it’s more difficult between husband and wife, and harder still between friends. To love someone regardless of what wrongs they have done you is very difficult for humans.
A dog, however, is born with an endless capacity for unconditional love, and doesn’t even have to work at it. You can be a complete grouch, ignore your dog, and refuse him your love. When you decide you’re ready to be sociable again, your dog doesn’t pay you back by ignoring you too. He’s just happy you’re there. More amazing still, is that the love that dogs and owners feel for each other lasts a lifetime. This is the ideal love humans strive for, but often fail at.
This is why we need dogs. They do something for us that rarely a human companion can do. No matter how much you mess up your life, or how much wrong you do, no matter how many mistakes you make or how often you make them, regardless of your looks, income or social standing, your dog never judges you. He always thinks you are wonderful and loves you with all his heart.
***PEDIGREE DOG :
For anyone who wants to purchase a pedigree dog, (and for whatever reason doesn’t want a rescue dog): in order to avoid the possibility of unknowingly supporting a puppy farmer, they should really contact the Kennel Club for the name of a reputable breeder. There are a great many devoted and conciencious breeders out there that do not breed dogs that are ‘inbred’ that carry out ALL health tests for the breed and care very greatly about the puppies they occasionally produce. Or check out the Kennel Club’s ‘find a rescue’ section on it’s website.
Please do not buy from a magazine or dealer or PET SHOP or ANY other source. Be aware that somebody selling a box of cute purebred puppies with a large price tag on them at a fair is more than likely a backyard breeder. Kennel Club research has shown that as many as one in three could have bought a puppy from a rogue breeder, or puppy farmer. Regardless of where you get your pup, if it’s not kennel club registered, the chances of your pup being bred by an irresponsible breeder rises dramatically. It’s up to you, the potential puppy buyer, to educate yourself and to avoid being part of the puppy mill/ backyard breeder problem. Do not put your money into the pockets of irresponsible breeders under any circumstances.
The only reason to breed anything is to better and improve the breed in form, function and health. A good breeder is lucky to break even with breeding and may even lose money. Anyone operating not up to standard is referred to as a ‘back yard breeder’ or a ‘puppy farmer’. People don’t realise that Ireland is the puppy farm capital of Europe and shockingly it is estimated that there are around 250 puppy farms in Ireland…. some with up to 800 breeding bitches who are forced to live their whole lives in cramped and filthy diseased conditions. Check out pictures on the internet of how badly these dogs are treated. Apart from the puppies that are sold in Ireland, around 45,000 puppies are exported to the UK annually. In America, it’s estimated that there are around 15,000 puppy mills who are supplying almost 100% of the PET STORES.
On the other hand, please bear in mind that the Kennel Club is very concerned that there are not enough regulations for dog breeders. Whilst there are many good breeders …. too many are poor breeders who are damaging dog welfare (and the reputation of good breeders) by breeding dogs for money and appearance over welfare. Check out ‘Pedigree Dogs Exposed’ (a BBC 1 investigative documentary which looks into the health and welfare issues facing pedigree dogs bred in the UK): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZMegQH1SPg&feature=related and ‘Pedigree Dogs Exposed – Three Years On’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opvvhTWqS6U&feature=relmfu for what is described as “one of the greatest animal welfare scandals of our time”
The Kennel Club has made two films, one looking at the lack of regulation over breeders and how puppy farmers breed dogs in terrible conditions to make money at the expense of welfare:
http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/stoppuppyfarming and another one looking at the health issues that affect pedigree dogs and the work being done to address them http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/doghealth