Why Having a Dog is Good For You
(My dog, Chloe, a desi dog—a Hindi word meaning “local”—she was a rescue from the streets of Deli)
By Jeremy Newcombe
I, like many dog owners, love my dog. She’s been my constant companion since I adopted her from a rescue agency just over a year ago. I was, however, surprised to read this article by the Huffington Post about how having a dog is good for your health. I mean, I’d always grown up around dogs, so it seemed like a no brainer to want to bring another one into my life as soon as my living situation allowed, but I was fascinated to learn that owning a dog could be just as good for you as having a gym membership.
First, it should be no surprise that dog owners have to go outside more; anyone that has had a puppy from 3-12 months of age knows how frequently that little bladder needs to find a patch of grass. Recently I saw a saying floating around online which sums it up: “There are so many cats on the internet because dog people go outside.” Even beyond puppyhood, dogs need exercise and will force (nay, encourage) you to go out for walks, hikes, and plenty of other outdoor adventures. They can be, if you let them, the perfect workout buddy.
Best of all, evidence suggests that having a pet could even help you live a longer, happier life. Emotionally speaking, dogs in particular are good for your psychological wellbeing. What other creature will jump reciprocate your love as unabashedly as a dog, regardless of whether you have a treat in your pocket or not? The prime psychological benefit of owning a dog is the constant positive reinforcement that you are the best person on earth. Leave your home for 5 minutes, and when you return your dog acts so happy to see you that it makes you wonder if you’ve actually been gone for five days. Yet any other pet will make you thank your lucky stars if they even acknowledge your presence when you have been away for a significant amount of time.
A dog can help you socialize and meet people as well. Trust me, a puppy is always the perfect icebreaker! In fact, I’ve made some truly great friends simply because my dog happened to take a fancy to their dog (yes, really). Talking to strangers on the street, in the hallway, or while riding the elevator suddenly becomes much easier when you’re walking your dog. As the article above states, the act as “great social facilitators,” and can help you establish instant connections with people you encounter. Added bonus for single people: dogs are a great way to meet a potential date.
And, if you’re still not convinced, here’s a video of puppies. If this doesn’t get you feeling good I don’t know what will.