- He makes me smile and laugh
- He provides unconditional love
- It requires me to be active by needing to walk him, exercise him and play with him
- I am never lonely
- I have someone to vent to besides my husband (this is true! I totally talk to my puppy like he can understand every word I say)
- It provides me with the responsibility to care for something else
- It is expensive to provide food, vet bills, dog walkers, etc.
- As a young puppy he didn’t sleep well, there were lots of early mornings and sleepless nights
- House breaking a puppy can cause many carpet stains!
- He always has energy-sometimes he has lots of energy when I don’t!
So I did some research about if my thoughts about dogs are consistent with experts opinions about whether dogs (or cats) are beneficial for people with chronic illnesses. After weeding out the many results about dogs with Arthritis, which is one of the most annoying responses when you tell someone you have Arthritis, “Oh, my dog has that!” Nope. not the same. I found one research study from 2012 on the effect dogs had in a waiting room in a outpatient chronic pain patient. The researchers used certified therapy dogs and they recorded the pain levels and mood of the patients and family members when the dogs were present, and when they were not. They determined that 23% of the subjects demonstrated a significant difference of a 2 point decrease in their pain level or increased mood than those subjects who did not have the dogs in the waiting room. You can read more about the study here, Animal-Assisted Therapy at an Outpatient Pain Management Clinic. Other research has shown that having dogs around can decrease heart and blood pressure, slow breathing rates, decrease stress hormones like cortisol, increase endorphins and boost immune systems. So what are you waiting for?!