Over many generations, our ancestors hunted and herded livestock with dogs who were integrated into the daily life of families in rural areas. Later, as communities moved to cities, companionship became the most popular reason for having a furry family member. Today, while some dogs continue to perform traditional rural functions, some others perform diverse activities such as rescue, service, and therapy, among others.
These working dogs are loyal companions and beloved family members of their handlers. However, most of the present population of dogs are pets and a big number of these animals come from pet shops that sometimes get their puppies from puppy mills.
Dogs are empathic and affective creatures who enhance the life of any person or family. Bringing a pet into one’s life entails physical, emotional, and social benefits as well as a huge responsibility. Adopting a dog that is eager for company is a win-win situation, and an infinitely rewarding decision. My life has always been blessed by my four-legged friends, so I can list millions of good reasons for having one. I can only complain about the grief and pain of losing them.
While most of the points in the following list are applicable to all dogs, whether they are adopted or not, I would like to highlight the mutual positive effects that adoption has. If you don’t have a dog, I believe that at least one of the reasons below will drive you to start looking for your perfect match.
Here are the top 10 reasons why you should adopt a dog :
1. Your dog will always be there for you.
Regardless of who you are or the situation that you are in, you will never be abandoned by your fido. Since the moment you meet, you will feel loved and cared for. Loyalty and unconditional love are amongst dogs’ attributes, so they quickly bond with their owners and provide them with companionship. You never feel alone with a dog in the house and you will be greeted with love each time you came back home.
2. Dogs make you feel safer.
They loyally protect you and your home even when their own life is at risk. Since dogs have a highly developed sense of hearing and smell as well as inherited instincts, they can perceive anything that comes close or into the house well before humans do. They growl or raise their hackles to alert you that somebody is approaching and sometimes prevent home invasions. This attribute is reflected in everyday news as well as in human history by many examples of dogs who saved their friends’ lives whether their friends were anonymous or somebody who had influenced and changed the world. When you adopt, you give dogs a home and a family to care about, so they can put to use all their natural instincts and skills.
3. You will enhance your physical health.
When you walk and play with your dog, you are exercising. This impacts positively your cardiovascular fitness and helps you keep your muscles, bones and joints healthy while improving your overall balance and coordination. A research comparing German, Australian and Chinese data proved that dog owners visit doctors significantly less than those that do not have a pooch. Other studies show that pet ownership has beneficial psychological and physiological effects such as temporary reduction of blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety, which are risk factors of coronary heart disease.
4. Your dog improves your mental health and emotional well being.
Interacting with your tail-wagging friend means you are focussed on a game, forcing your brain to have fun and forget, at least for a moment, the worries, anxiety or stress of a busy workday. Researchers proved that when you touch, hug, and pet your dog the physical contact involved in this interaction increases endorphin levels in your bloodstream, making you feel better. When going through difficult situations of illness, grieve or loneliness, your dog is going to be a source of support and companionship that will lift your mood and help you overcome the crisis.
5. Adoption grants you a bigger chance of finding your furry soulmate.
Regardless of your age, interests, lifestyle and physical condition, a dog is always the perfect companion. The advantage of adoption is that you can choose your canine partner not only in terms of breed, but also according to temperament. You can adopt an energetic and playful puppy to share a jogging session with or you might need a more patient and disciplined senior dog to provide you with companionship without forcing you to face any physical challenge. You can also decide between a young dog to be trained or an older dog with an established routine for feedings, playtime, and bathroom breaks. Furthermore, some shelters and dog adoption associations allow you to became a foster dog parent or family, so you can test yourself for a later adoption.
6. Your dog helps you socialize.
When you walk your dog you break isolation and meet other dog owners. Pet owning and caring offers you a good icebreaker and a topic of conversation. Many people love pets, so they will talk to you and ask for permission to pet or play with your dog. This gives you the opportunity to meet your neighbors and make new friends as well as to better know your neighborhood, the parks and people that live in your community.
7. You can talk to your dog.
Dogs can understand humans because they have outstanding communications skills. They are empathic and good listeners and can perfectly use non-verbal communication to sense your feelings or needs as well as to tell you what they want. They can look directly into your eyes and listen to you. Most people talk to their dogs and they are not mistaken, because studies provide evidence that in addition to reducing social isolation, talking to our dog can decrease our blood pressure.
8. Dogs are beneficial for any member of a family.
Raising children with a dog contributes to developing children’s confidence, self-esteem, and social skills, making them better equipped to develop good relationships. This is also an opportunity to teach children to take care and respect animals. Children who have an early contact with dogs are healthier and are less likely to develop allergies than those who live in homes without a fido.
The presence of a dog in the house provides company and friendship to seniors, encouraging them to adopt a more active lifestyle. It also contributes to their emotional balance and helps them cope with isolation as well as the feelings of loneliness and depression that are common in elderly people.
Some dogs can even sense and alert their owners before a seizure or hypoglycemia episode takes place, allowing them to prevent that their symptoms become more severe, particularly for those that live alone. Seniors with pets are more independent and able to execute more daily activities than non-pet owners. Whatever your age is, a dog’s companionship provides you with physical, emotional, and social benefits.
9. Your dog develops your parenting skills.
Dog parenting demands you to be responsible, caring, and understand body language. It also exercises your patience when they make a mess in your house or tear up your favorite possessions. All these skills that your fido generously teaches you prepares you for children. Dog fostering and adoption is the perfect rehearsal for somebody that wants to have children, considering that the latter demand much more work and energy than imagined.
10. Dog’s nature is unique.
No other animal or human can love in the way that they love us. They embody true forgiveness and the love needed to create, develop, and maintain lasting relationships. They demonstrate that values such as loyalty, kindness, and love are essential in this world and we, humans, sometimes need a dog to remind us about it.