Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast
My niece walking my 110 pound Rottweiler, Mickey, many years ago. Mickey would normally drag anyone walking her, but she just knew to be gentle with my niece.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Benefits of Dog Ownership

I’m sure you’ve all seen the lists on the internet that detail the supposed benefits of dog ownership.  Some of those lists are researched and very accurate where as others are based on not-so-scientific methods.  This one will fall under the category of the latter. 

Since owning my own dogs, going on 22 years now, I can say that they have provided me a lot of benefits along the way. I’ve also observed the benefits that dogs have provided other people as well.  The following are some examples of those:

Anti-depressants and stress relief
Research has shown that petting a dog helps lower blood pressure but I’ve seen that it has a much broader impact.  For example, I had a friend who suffered from depression.  She shared with me once that her depression was so bad at one point that she didn’t even want to leave her bed, even to eat.  What got her up was her dog.  Her struggle with the grips of depression were not strong enough for her to neglect her dog.  Even though she wanted to hide under her covers all day, her dog needed to eat, be walked and played with, and be loved. She saw that another life was dependent on her and that reality pulled her through that very dark time.

Another friend works in a very high stress career where travel for long periods to dangerous places is required.  When he is home though, he shared that even with all the stress, when he was in bed and his dog would lie next to him, his head across my friend’s chest, all the worries and memories went away with each pet that my friend gave his dog.

The prior blog about Jamie and Bo, is just one example of how the presence of a dog can instill confidence in a person.  Another one is a young lady I know who was almost the victim of child abduction.  I’m hoping she will be kind enough to do a guest blog about that situation and how an amazing dog named Adonis helped her through that, but for now I will speak of her current situation.  After the attempted abduction, my friend has justifiable fears of certain situations.  She has learned that by having a dog with her cancels those fears and allows her to live a very full life.

The other example that I find fascinating is the use of specially trained dogs to help victims of violence or sex crimes have the courage to testify in court against their attackers.  Here is a link of one such example:

Getting your butt out of the chair
This last one I’ll share is a personal story.  As a writer, one of the standard piece of advice I’ve received is “Keep your butt in the chair!”  This simply means that to succeed as a writer you have to write.  Figure out a way to sit down and write every day.  Most people don’t succeed at writing simply because they let life keep them out of the chair. 

Back in 1996 I was working on my first attempt at a novel. I finished it eventually but was told that the work needed to make it ready to submit to a publisher was going to be massive.  So, I shelved it and I might someday return to it but for now I’m content that it was a test run and can leave it be.  While writing it though, I became rather absorbed in the story and would spend as much time as I could working on it.  At that time I was living in a small condo so my desk was in my bedroom with the chair situated such that my back was very close to the foot of my bed.  As I was typing away one evening, I felt the gentle push of a paw on my back.  I don’t know if it was Taz or Mickey, my first two Rottweilers, but I ignored it and kept working on the story.  Then came another nudge, a bit more forceful but gentle enough not to break my flow of typing.  Without looking back I told my dogs to wait and that I would take them for a walk in a bit and charged ahead with whatever scene I was so absorbed in.  Then it arrived.  A hit to the back of my head that was forceful enough to send my glasses plunging to the keyboard and to leave my head spinning a bit.  Fumbling to put my glasses back on, I turned to see Taz and Mickey standing on my bed, butts vibrating in excitement at gaining my attention and their eyes making it very clear that the time for a walk was now.  Needless to say, we went for a walk. 
My first Rottweilers, Taz (front) and Mickey, hogging the bed.
Even now as I work on my third novel or these blogs, my dogs are masters at getting me out of the chair, or, at a minimum, pausing long enough to give some ear rubs or play a quick game of tug.  They have taught me that all too often we become so absorbed in things that we forget to take a moment and enjoy life.  Even if that moment is only a walk with your dogs or a spirited game of tug.  

If you want to know more about my efforts as a writer, be sure to follow my Facebook and Twitter accounts.  You can also learn more about me at my website  as well as purchase my first novel, Stranger’s Dance.  

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