One of the most favorite times of my day is when I get to see other students walking to class with service dogs. I mean really, how can you look at this face and not become instantly happier? I have always been intrigued as to how dogs can make us feel so much better. Click here to learn more on how you can bring one of these guys into your life!
As I said in my initial blog post, when I was in high school I did an internship/class at the local hospital. Although I can not disclose specific information, a patient was in the ER with her dog. At first I was confused because the patient did not seem to have sort of physical handicap so why would a service dog be with her? My instructor told me that service dogs can be placed in homes of people who also suffer from mental disease such as depression or anxiety. I have grown up with dogs always in my household. My whole family loves golden retrievers and my heart swells just thinking about my dog Lucy. I feel so much empathy and compassion toward her, and even though we can’t talk to each other, I feel as if I know her like I know a person. Ever since I moved into my new apartment, Lucy gets so excited to see me when I come home and it brightens my whole day, erasing any bad things that had happened.
In a scientific manner, dogs have many health benefits. As I’m sure many of you with dogs at home have experienced, dogs make you happier in general. This is because of the rise in oxytocin levels in your brain when you see or touch your dog. This hormone is basically a happy hormone because it causes you to feel good the higher your levels are. So, therefore; the more interaction with your dog, the happier you become! This reminded me of the worm studies in kids because they both have a correlation. The more time spend with your dog, the more oxytocin is released, the happier you are. Not only can they help you feel happier just by looking at them or playing with them, they also encourage a healthy lifestyle without even knowing. Having a dog can increase your likelihood of exercising because you know your dog needs it, so going along with them benefits you both. Dogs can also help you find meaning in your life by making you happy to have a connection with them. They also provide constant companionship and in doing this, reduce your stress. Just petting your dog lowers blood pressure which in return, can lower your stress levels. It is also reported that dogs have a much better sense of smell than we do. In an amazing case, Marine, a black lab, detected cancer just by using smell. This amazed me. The more I read about how helpful our dogs our to our lives, the more I began to understand that I found most of this to be true to my relationship with Lucy.
Dogs are no doubt amazing creatures. From a personal standpoint, Lucy not only makes me happy but she has taught me empathy. How on earth could she have done this without talking to me? I don’t entirely know the answer to that but I know that if I am feeling down, she knows because she brings me one of her toys because she knows it makes her happy, so she thinks it will make me happy too. Of course, this is all just speculation, but it is something I firmly believe in.
Dogs make the world happier. Dogs make humans happier. Dogs make other dogs happier. Dogs make everything happier. 🙂