When asked what am I passionate about, it isn’t hard to come up with 3 straight away: my faith, my family and my dogs. The last passion is the main reason I wanted to write about my own dogs. One of the largest reasons I feel so passionate about dogs is the belief that dogs (and pets in general) play an amazing role in our mental and physical health.
Mental health is something I’ve struggled to stay on top of consistently throughout my life, even to today, and I’ve always felt significantly better when I’ve been with animals.
Ok, so the physical benefits of owning a dog in particular might be obvious, to stay active by walking and playing with them, or even the act of filling up food and water or doing ‘poo patrol’, as I call it. The mental benefits, however, may not be quite so clear.
There’s many places where dogs are used to help people’s mental health, ( and this often leads to improved physical heath) these include, in hospital wards, aged or disabled care facilities or even in people’s homes as an assistance dog for the physically disabled, blind people, Autistim sufferers, and kids or adults going through cancer.
As a person with a physical disability myself and also anxieties and depression iI understand on a personal level what part animals have played in my own life. With my love of horses starting at a very young age and developing through RDA (riding for the disabled), and then continuing on to include farm animals when I moved to an agricultural college, surrounded by all the sights sounds and smells of a farm, AND I LOVED IT!!
Whenever I needed to have time out To reflect or just to feel calm I would go down and sit with the horses or goats for a while, giving them pats and cuddles and just even talking to them. My mind felt free.
My pet dog Booma, back home on the Goldcoast, had developed brain cancer and died while I was at Uni, and when I’d finished my studies I had a sence of loss and pet/animal withdrawals for years as I began renting with friends, we weren’t allowed to own a dog and I felt like no one really understand what this meant to me. When i got married i was finally able to get Flossy our first Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. She was perfect and definitely filled that big gap of animal withdrawal I had been carrying. The power of healing and change was definately evident when Flossy came along, helping me through my depression and also helped me in my pregnancy which was full of many different emotions. And she also helped others from a disabled boy overcoming his fear of dogs to a young girl who was able to overcome her fear and now owns her own dog.
So this is huge for me, owning dogs. Even having animals be a big part of my thoughts, believing in the essential part animals and pets play in our lives. My pups fill me with such joy and happiness and this is something that helps me get through even the most difficult of days!