Thousands of unwanted animals enter shelters on every day across the country, but the trends in animal rescue have never been more positive. Instead of purchasing purebreds from breeders and pet stores, families and individuals are visiting local shelters and returning home with furry friends that provide a lifetime of love.
Besides providing excellent, nonjudgmental companionship, these animals are also good for your health. They’ll help keep your blood pressure down and your chin up. Here’s how.
Walking the dog
Even small breeds need to be exercised on a regular basis. But they won’t be the only beneficiary. A walk around the block at least once a day will improve your cardiovascular health, lessen the risk of diabetes, and raise your levels of vitamin D.
Besides giving you some needed exercise and fresh air, pet ownership will also provide you with social benefits. For instance, if you go to a park with your furry friend, you’ll inevitably fall into conversations with other dog lovers.
You may also connect with other pet owners at animal-specific retailers, training classes, and even online, now that the digital era has made it easier than ever to join forums and social media pages that relate to our lifestyles and interests.
Emotional support and comfort
Animal friends are an excellent source of emotional support even if you aren’t going through a difficult time in your life. It can be uplifting simply to walk in the door after a long day at work to a wagging tail and happy face.
Of course, pets can be an invaluable source of solace and comfort during times of hardship and tragedy, too. There’s something about their unconditional love that can truly nourish our soul.
Emotional support animal companions provide stress relief and a higher quality of life for those who suffer from mental conditions that make everyday activities difficult.
Research has indicated that introducing pets into a classroom situation with autistic children can help the kids to develop effective communication techniques. Involvement with animals is instrumental in helping the children learn to interact with one another in positive ways.
Participate in fun activities together
For dogs that revel in exercise, a walk around the block or a romp in the local park may not be enough. Agility training is a great activity that provides both dog and owner with hours of fun.
Courses can be simple, complex, or anything in between, depending on the skills and energy level of the dog involved. Many dogs enjoy the challenge of learning a new course.
Agility training can be either a pleasant pastime or a professional undertaking. The competitive aspect thrills some dogs and their owners, and because agility events have been increasing in popularity in recent decades, most communities have some sort of training facility where you and your dog can learn the basics. Border collies, poodles, and terriers all make excellent agility course dogs.
Of course, if you’ve got your heart set on a specific breed, your local shelter may not be able to help you. In that case, a breed-specific rescue organization can help you find the furry friend of your dreams.