Continued from....Dogs and Us
In our house on a Sunday, we have always had the tradition that the whole family takes the dogs for a walk after breakfast...
A walk that involves a car journey first. It’s a big deal. It’s a special walk, far, far away with all our humans coming too. And they even bring a ball and Hurley. It doesn’t get any better!! Well unless there’s a river. A muddy one is best! The fun starts when the humans sit back and are chatting… the wait for the first person to get up and clear away the dishes lasts forrrrevvvvvverrrrrr! And then it happens! They get up and we know it’s time to go for a waaaaaaaalllllk!!!
The excitement is so big that Sandy, our older dog, is already out of breath before she leaves the house!
However, a number of years ago, she was diagnosed with a heart condition which means she is only allowed, and able for, a limited amount of exercise and/or excitement. Now, we the humans, have a carefully orchestrated plan to minimise the pre-walk excitement. And an even more precise orchestrated plan if we cannot go at all, including eating in the kitchen, as eating in the dining room on Sundays is the first clue! This plan is to hide the sign that they pick up on to indicate walk time. It doesn’t always work!
Going back to their senses; they know when stuff is happening. They know the difference between me putting on my runners to go for a walk or go to school. They know when we are happy and sad. They know when someone is unwell. They know when each other is unwell.
How do they do this? I think they sense energy. People have always said their hearing and smell is far superior to ours, and it is, but so are their abilities to sense things.
Working dogs are much more common now for a variety of situations from sniffer dogs re drugs, food and missing people, but also personal working dogs for diabetes, epilepsy and autism. But let’s not think that it has to be a trained working dog in order to be beneficial. Lots of research is out now about the benefits of owning a dog.
Let’s look at a few - but before we do, let me stress that I am not promoting you getting a dog unless the circumstances in your life are favourable! This is just to make you aware that spending more time with your dog may be of benefit.
Ok so here we go;
•Your dog makes you less lonely as they keep you company.
•They lower you stress levels and have shown to reduce risk of death.
•They improve psychological recover from trauma.
•They make you more sociable as you walk them, bring them places and buy stuff for them, as well as being a conversation starter when meeting other people.
•They encourage us to move more, walk outdoors but even play indoors.
The benefits listed are the obvious researched ones but I feel, on a deeper level, the impact on our soul that a dog has is one that could not be measured. I love our dogs very much and I could not imagine life without them. They are a family member without a doubt.