August 26, 2010
Five Ways Dogs Can Change Your Life
Being a dog owner is not easy. To raise a dog properly, you need to devote time, money and passion to the job. Moments of frustration are bound to occur, and at regularly intervals. Successes are often followed by small failures and false starts. You may even lose your favorite pair of shoes to your puppy’s teeth.
As any dog owner can tell you, however, all of that effort is worth it. Bringing a dog into your home will change your life. Your dog’s unconditional love, unsinkable spirit and unabashed smiles can improve your health and well-being in many ways.
To prove our point, Dog Tails has compiled a list of the top 5 ways that dogs can change your life for the better. Read on, and learn more about how these amazing creatures make our lives better every day.
1) Dogs make your office more productive
We all know dogs can liven up the workplace. But did you know that having dogs in the office has been found to boost worker productivity?
Earlier this month, The Economist reported on a study conducted by researchers at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, MI. The experiment involved two groups of people collaborating to create an advertising campaign. One group had a dog in the room with them, while the other did not. Analyzing the post experiment surveys that the participants filled out, the researchers found that the group with the dog “ranked their teammates more highly on measures of trust, team cohesion and intimacy” than the group without the dog.
The moral of the story? Dogs in the workplace help improve the team dynamic and foster productive collaboration among employees. Bosses, take note!
2) Dogs keep you active
Having trouble fitting the gym into your busy schedule? Walking the dog can be a fun and easy way to work regular exercise into your daily life. Add a handful of play sessions in the backyard each week, and you have the beginnings of a fun exercise routine that is easy to stick to.
Just like us, dogs need regular exercise to stay healthy. Not only will they thank you for the walk, your body will, too. And as veterinarian, Renae Hamrick points out in her article on PetPlace.com, what better motivation to get active than your dog’s smiling face and wagging tail as she waits by the door?
3) Dogs reduce stress
Most of us would jump at the chance to reduce the amount of stress in our daily lives. One easy way to reduce stress is to adopt a dog. This month, the ASPCA reported on the findings of a recent study on this subject that found that “55 percent of people were more relaxed when they were with their pets and 44 percent were even less worried about financial problems.”
The ASPCA article quoted a psychologist who worked on the study, Dr. David Lewis, who stated that “interacting with a dog is a profound and effective stress reducer. It increases feelings of contentment and relaxation.” Who out there doesn’t want that?
4) Dogs extend your life
Keeping you active, reducing your stress level, improving your mood – all of these benefits of owning a dog add up to a bigger, more dramatic conclusion: dogs can help you live longer.
While this pronouncement may seem exaggerated a first glance, many scientific studies have actually been found to support it. Studies have shown that dogs can reduce a person’s risk of heart disease and help speed up the healing process after surgery. Dogs also have been shown to improve overall mental health and help prevent depression. Owning a dog may even reduce the amount of colds you’ll get this winter. So next time your dog rests his head on your lap, give him a kiss and thank him for doing his part to keep you healthy!
5) By adopting a dog, you can make a difference
Finally, adopting a shelter dog is one way you can truly make a difference in another being’s life. Each year in the US, between 3 and 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized because they could not find a home. Most of these are animals that could have made wonderful pets, and lived long, healthy lives, if only they had been adopted.
As the Humane Society of the United States explains, adopting an animal from a shelter or rescue agency saves two lives: the dog you adopt and the dog that can be rescued and taken care of by the shelter in your dog’s place. Knowing that you helped make a difference in these dogs’ lives is something that a shelter/rescue dog owner will never forget.
Need more proof? Watch this video from Dogwork.com, and experience the joy of dogs that have been given a “second chance” at life.
Are you the proud parent of one of these wonderful creatures? If so, we encourage you to share your dog’s picture and story on our Facebook page. We look forward to seeing and reading about your four-legged best friends!
Top Image from jeffreyw via Flickr.