There are endless studies on the benefits of caring for pets. Most of us know that a dog or another pet gives people someone to love and to return their love, something to be responsible for and therefore adds meaning and warmth to a pet owner’s life.
Pets are good for more than our psychological well being though. They can also be great for our health and our relationships with people. A game of catch, Frisbee or a brisk walk with your four-legged friend is a great way burn a few extra calories and bond with your buddy. Sharing a dog, both the fun and the responsibility, is also a wonderful way for families to spend time together.
I was especially reminded of all the wonderful benefits of pets today when I read a story by David Shoup in Ontario, Canada. David was forced to due to severe nerve damage to both of his legs. It was a tough transition for him and he found himself sitting around, depressed and inactive. This inactivity added up to an extra 50 pounds. His wife got wise to the situation though and formulated a plan to get David back on his feet and back out into the world. She got him a puppy. At first it looked as if the puppy wasn’t going to motivate David much, but as he got more attached and fell in love he began to work harder to give his beloved friend a good life. Pretty soon he was walking his dog two or three times a day.
After a while the puppy, Ozzy, kept David too involved to be depressed. He was too busy making sure that Ozzy was the number one priority. David found that although his injury had put an end to his work, it didn’t have to keep him completely off his feet. He could walk Ozzy for a half an hour or more. It wasn’t long before David found that Ozzy was the perfect personal trainer. In four years those 50 pounds and bit more melted off. He swears there’s no way he would stop now even he had to do their walks from a wheelchair.
Things were going so well that David decided to share the love. He bought his wife a Miniature Schnauzer for Valentine’s Day and they named her Zoe. It’s not just David out walking the dog anymore. Every day he and his wife and their two dogs enjoy at least a forty-five minute walk. David says he has his life back now and thanks his wife’s smart thinking, but also the wonderful dogs that gave him a reason to get back on his feet while enjoying the love and companionship that surrounds him.
Have you thought about the health benefits of a pet? If you need a friend to share your home and to shed a few pounds too you might think about adopting. There are so many pets that need good homes in rescues and shelters and everyone would be happy to make your life a little better.