My Four Legged Therapist
Yesterday was my pup, Quilla’s 3rd birthday. I spent quite a bit of time thinking about the effect she has on my mental health and I thought I would share a bit of it with you – although I am speaking about dogs, I am sure those of you who have pets can relate to the positive influence they have on our lives.
Dogs ensure that you think about food. Even on the days when I wouldn’t have thought about food for myself, I definitely need to think of about it for her. And Quilla eats kibble in the morning and home-cooked in the evening– made once a week and reheated. So usually, when I go to the kitchen to give her food (and believe me, she reminds me if I lose track of time) I will put something small together for myself.
Dogs ensure you get outside and breathe some fresh air – no matter how you are feeling or what the weather. I live in an apartment, so this is especially true -there is no opening the back door. At least three times a day, I have to get dressed, put on her leash, and take her out. In the middle of winter, neither one of us wants to spend too much time outside – but we have to step outside.
Dogs remind us to play. Especially now, when I am working from home, 2-3 times during the workday I am (literally) nudged by a wet nose that has brought a toy to me to play with. She will bring her ball or current favourite stuffed toy to be thrown and play fetch for a few minutes before going back to find a comfortable spot to snooze.
Dogs force us to speak to other people, even when we don’t feel very social. When out and about on walks, more often than not I will get into conversations with other dog owners (confession – I probably know the dog’s name but not the humans) and we recognize most of the neighbourhood dogs.
Dogs give unconditional love. No matter how long I’ve been away – whether its all day at work or for a couple of minutes to throw the garbage (or go to the washroom), when I come back I am showered in kisses and she does her little happy dance. There is no way that I could ever conclude that “no one loves me” while she is in my life.
Do you have a pet? I’d love to know more about them! Drop me a comment below and tell me how your pet helps your mental health. And while you’re at it, head on over and download my free phone wallpaper to remind yourself of how much you love your four-legged best friend.