I love dogs, hopefully you love dogs — really, everyone should love dogs. They’re fluffy, absolutely adorable and, if treated right, lovingly loyal. Dogs are spectacular creatures who give us a lot, even if we don’t deserve it. To prove how spectacular they truly are, here are some things dogs give (also known as the benefits of having a dog).
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While at the moment it can feel like a drag — getting up early into the morning cold — a dog forces you to get outside and work those legs. Dogs, like any other animal, need exercise — and certain breeds more than others. My Husky-Sheppard mix loves nothing more than trotting around and rolling in the grass. But even more importantly, she needs it. On an average day, she’ll get the equivalent of four walks with one long walk in the morning and another in the evening. Those walks can range from 45 minutes to 2 hours. Goingon those long walks gets me a solid amount of time outside after school.
Another benefit is that you’re more likely to go for a walk because someone other than yourself needs it. In the winter, when cuddling up on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate is the fundamental desire, there’s not a lot of motivation to exercise. Yet, when it becomes part of routine and care for another creature, stepping outside with a dog will simply happen everyday. Of course, as tireless as I’m making it seem, walking or even running with a dog is all sorts of fun. It’s refreshing and relaxing, and can lend you some much needed time to clear your head.
Self-discipline and Learning Responsibility
Having a dog means learning some life-benefiting responsibility. Having a dog is lots of fun, but it’s also hard work. You shouldn’t get a dog if you can’t provide for it. Dogs are living, breathing creatures, and must be cared for properly.
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From vet bills to chew toys, you have to be able to stay organized. Learning to organize your time, in this case so that you can give your dog everything it needs, is a valuable skill. Even remembering to fill up your dog’s water teaches self-discipline. Knowing how to nurture and look after someone else is something most of us will have to master.
Dogs are great listeners! You can spill your guts and go off on a lengthy rant, and they won’t mind one bit. Not only are they phenomenal listeners, but dogs are also playful, loving and devoted all at the same time. They’re like the friend who is a tender mix of attentive and enamored with you, but knows how to have a good time as well.
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Anywhere, anytime, a dog is faithful company. You can sit quietly next to them, kick around a ball, and they’ll be right there next to you. While dogs can’t strike up a conversation,weigh in on a personal situation, or toss some jokes, their company is still comforting. Sometimes all you want is someone to be there, happy to see you and boundlessly affectionate. No matter how lonely you may be feeling, having a dog there — open-eyed, ear-twitching, tail-wagging — reminds you that you’re far from alone.
Calming and Consoling (Healing)
Along with being great company, dogs are also therapeutically calming. A friend of mine referred to them as healing, and I couldn’t word it better. Running your hand through their soft fur, and seeing that gleam of unquestioning love in their eyes stands unparalleled. Dogs, from what we know, don’t judge and they don’t hate without serious reason, either. They’re so distant from the calculating, gossipy throngs of people we sometimes come across, and it’s absolutely amazing. You can be sad, and that’s ok; dogs won’t try anything or say anything to contradict you. Their presence and attention is what’s healing.
Image Source: Cutest Paw
At my school, we have therapy dogs visit every once and awhile. They lie on the gross floor in the front foyer, and students can hang out with them. When the therapy dogs come in, it’s genuinely the highlight of my week (mostly because I’m a huge animal person). Studies have even shown that having a dog can reduce stress, specifically among children and teenagers. There’s just nothing more uplifting and equally calming as petting a dog.
It’s something we’re all craving: happiness. Having a dog involves love and care and respect, and they all go both ways. If you’re gentle and affectionate toward a dog, they’ll (in most cases) return the love. It’s mutual, and once this bond is created, what’s there not to be happy about? You have a loyal friend who can unconsciously teach you self-discipline, heal you, and get you to exercise. And if you’re happy, they’re happy.