Recently a few friends of mine posted eulogies about their dogs online. I have two dogs, a beagle and a boxer. The thought of losing them pulled on my heart strings. After reading my friends posts I cried. Thinking about how I am going to handle when the time comes for my dogs.
If you don't own a dog, then I understand if this sounds silly to you. But research has actually shown, that owning dogs not only contributes to your psychological health, but your physical health as well (Feng et al, 2014; Levine et al, 2013). People who own dogs are more physically active and this decreases the risk of hearth disease. Of course this is because when you get home from work and stare at those big puppy eyes, you can’t say no to taking your dogs for a walk.
In another study conducted by Feng et al (2014), it was found that people who own dogs also reported fewer incidents of depressive episodes. This is linked to the several benefits of physical activity. But it is also linked to the soothing effects that dogs have on your heartbeat. In turn this helps relieve stress and promotes overall wellness.
After seeing all these benefits, you can only imagine, that when a dog owner loses their pet, it is devastating. Although it is not enough to increase their rates of depression, studies have found that losing a dog includes the same bereavement processes as losing a loved one (Sable, 2013). This is why I really feel for my friends that have recently lost their dogs.
So next time you hear a friend say that their dog died. Make sure to give them a big hug. Because losing a dog is like losing a member of the family.
Social Gelo with Angelo
Angelo Ferrer (M.S. Psychology)
Feng, Z., Dibben, C., Witham, M. D., Donnan, P. T., Vadiveloo, T., Sniehotta, F., ... & McMurdo, M. E. (2014). Dog ownership and physical activity in later life: A cross-sectional observational study. Preventive medicine, 66, 101-106.
Levine, G. N., Allen, K., Braun, L. T., Christian, H. E., Friedmann, E., Taubert, K. A., ... & Lange, R. A. (2013). Pet Ownership and Cardiovascular Risk A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association. Circulation, 127(23), 2353-2363.
Sable, P. (2013). The pet connection: an attachment perspective. Clinical Social Work Journal, 41(1), 93-99.