I understand that not everybody loves dogs. I’ve even met people who can’t stand “dog people” which is fine because everybody is entitled to their own opinions. But I personally love dogs and that’s what I want to talk about today!
I got my first dog when I was 10 and I had him until I was 20. His name was Cooper and he was a Miniature Pinscher. I got my second dog when I was 21 and then I got my third dog a year later. So I’ve had dogs for pretty much the past 15 years.
Now I have a Boxer named Ares who’s almost 4 years old. I also have a German Shepherd named Zeus who’s almost 3. It’s safe to say that I’m a huge dog lover and I can’t imagine my life without my fur babies.
I’ve read quite a few articles online talking about the benefits of owning a dog and how it can even make you a better person. I was surprised to learn that dogs can benefit your mental health as well as your physical health. I thought this was pretty cool, so I wanted to write a post about my personal experience with how dogs have improved myself and my life.
So, here are 7 ways that owning a dog has made me a better person!
1- It’s given me a sense of purpose.
Don’t get me wrong, I already felt a sense of “purpose” in my religion, my relationships, and my writing but this was a different sense of purpose. I think I’ve mentioned it a few times here and there but my husband and I have been struggling with getting pregnant since we got married. Having a dog has helped ease that pain, if just a little bit. Having them to take care of has helped me do some of the “mothering” in a sense. I know that it’s not exactly the same as human children, but it helps while we figure out what to do about our situation.
2- It’s improved my mental and emotional health.
Dogs have such strong senses. All 3 of my dogs have been able to just feel the bad vibes when I’m upset and they always try to cheer me up. If I’m sitting on my bed feeling depressed or crying about something, they always climb on my lap to give me kisses or just to cuddle. They’re so sweet and they can cheer me up when nothing else does. They’re very therapeutic and can do a lot to help improve mental health. In fact, studies have shown that people bounce back from bad times faster with the support of a dog than they do with the support of another human!
3- It’s made me more patient.
Caring for a puppy definitely takes patience. I’ve had to deal with a puppy getting sick all over his cage, going potty on the floor, tearing my stuff up. Even waking me up in the middle of the night literally crying for attention. This can be frustrating, but I couldn’t be too mad because they didn’t mean to do anything wrong. Combine that with potty training, teaching them commands, and keeping them out of trouble and it taught me a lot of patience.
4- It’s helped me feel more mindful.
Dogs are so sweet and innocent, and they appreciate the little things. My pups get excited when they get to go outside or even when I’m just talking to them in a baby voice. When things don’t go their way, they don’t dwell on it and they don’t worry about the future. They just go with the flow. In a way, it’s taught me to be mindful of simple joys and live in the moment.
5- It’s given me more of a daily routine.
Working from home has made me struggle a bit with daily routines. I’ll create a routine and it’ll work for a while, but then it kind of gets thrown out the window. But my dogs thrive on routine. Waking up each morning at the same time so they can go potty, feeding them at the same time each day, taking them for walks at the same time – it’s all helped me build a better routine for myself.
6- It’s made me more confident.
Owning a dog actually helped me improve my confidence in two different ways. For one, dog owners are some of the friendliest people. When I take my dogs on walks or on trips to PetSmart, other people always stop to make comments about them or ask questions. I’ve even gotten into random conversations with dog owners in the pet aisle at the grocery store when my dogs weren’t even with me! Bonding over a love for dogs has helped me feel more confident talking to people I don’t know. This is a huge step for someone with social anxiety. In another sense, a dog’s unconditional love and acceptance can be a confidence booster too!
7- It’s made me a generally happier person.
I don’t know if it’s their cute faces, their silly personalities, the reasons I’ve listed above, or just a combination of everything… But I’ve just felt like a generally happier person since I’ve gotten my pups. They also find ways to make me laugh every single day, which would make anyone happier!