Puppies Are Good For Health & Happiness

Do you smile and melt when someone posts a cute puppy or kitty video on Social Media? I do! If you are like me, you watch them because you want to feel good, laugh, and, for a moment, allow whatever doesn’t feel good fade into the background.

So, this last weekend I decided to rescue one of those cute puppies and bring more love into my world (and have a dog who barks when someone comes to visit). Of course, as you can imagine, I have had several nights of less than restful nights! My days have shifted from my quiet rhythm with an aging deaf dog and an older cat.

I would like to share with you my list of the benefits (as I know them) of a puppy in the house. It is a reminder when I am not so enthralled by the antics of this little being in my home who is a bundle of nonstop motion and energy.

The Benefits of a Puppy at Home:

1. Rescuing a puppy from a shelter expands your heart.
2. A puppy who is in the process of house-training means lots of outdoor time and fresh air.
3. A puppy who is learning how to walk on a leash with another dog means I am improving my flexibility as the leash or puppy gets tangled around my legs (add ice and it is even more exciting).
4. I am practicing my mindfulness (or actively noticing) by learning pee and pooping cues.
5. My carpets are getting an early Spring cleaning even if it is one small spot at a time.
6. I love being appreciated and what better appreciation than a puppy excited to see me when I get home from work or get up in the morning.
7. Exercising my memory to be certain my pockets are full of training treats and poop bags before heading outdoors.
8. I have increased my physical contact through petting and massaging another dog in my household.
9. I am getting to learn what is important and what to let go of. For example, a new puppy explores so books are sent flying off of my coffee table and my gloves and hats are fair game on the table by the door. I may even learn that some furniture is no longer necessary as she wants to taste and chew everything. I don’t really need so much stuff anyway!
10. I get to practice my rapid response skills — getting up & dressed in the morning (including boots, coat, mittens, and a hat) to get outside first thing for puppy pee & pooping.
11. Her playfulness is a delightful refocus from the dire news I might otherwise be checking.
12. My vocabulary has simplified tremendously — ‘Come’; ‘Sit’; and ‘Good girl’ says so much and what fun to see her desire to please (or maybe it’s for the treat I reach for in my pocket).
13. Lots of Oxytocin release (the feel good hormone) when I sit to receive endless kisses and love.
14. A reminder that play is an important part of every day!
15. Research shows that people with pets live longer and enjoy improved health! I’m on board with that!

These are just some of the benefits I’ve experienced this week with a new puppy on board. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the other animals in my house are not so enthralled. My cat has hidden on the top shelf in a closet, coming out only at mealtime and at night when the puppy is safely in her crate or eating her own meal. And, my aging dog (who is getting more exercise trying to escape puppy play) looks up at me with eyes that seem to say, “Really??”

My little bundle of joy, whose name is Willow, is a rescue from Kentucky. I have enormous respect for the many people who take on rescuing, foster caring, and finding homes for dogs and cats — their passion is their love of animals. In the process of having Willow join my household I’ve learned that most of the shelters down south are ‘kill’ shelters. I like that I have just saved a precious life!


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