Sweet Medicine for the Soul

“If all the animals were gone,

man would die from a great

loneliness of spirit.”

(Chief Seattle)

Dog lovers the world over know that sometimes there is no greater soother of the soul than the love you receive from your pet. Who else waits for you to come home with excited eagerness at the end of each day? Who else offers deep comfort in times of troubled thoughts, just by giving you their undivided attention and love? Who else accepts the smallest gesture of kindness towards them with immense gratefulness? Our dogs do, that’s who.

Many studies have shown that dogs relieve stress in the lives of their owners, and people who own dogs tend to live longer than those who don’t. Dog therapy programs are now gaining in popularity where dog owners bring their animals in to visit with people in nursing homes. These therapy dogs bring joy and a warmth of heart to the people they visit. They bring smiles and laughter in a way that unites people in a moment of relaxation. Dogs have also been shown to assist in schools with children learning to read. Just the presence of a dog nearby can relax a child into focusing better.

So what is it that dogs do that makes them so uniquely attuned to assist people in their lives? Dogs seem to have a special ability to communicate with people. They sense our emotions and with their great hearts, they soften ours. People who are anxious can relax easier in the presence of a dog. Walking our dogs brings us much needed exercise and having to look after a dog gives us an opportunity to focus on what they need, rather than dwell on our own stress and problems. Walking is a great stress reliever and dog owners tend to walk more than people who don’t own dogs. This is healthy and helps us to live longer.

One of the greatest things that dogs offer us is simply their wonderful companionship. As the quote above suggests, we would be so much lonelier without the presence of animals in our lives. Dogs make us feel wanted. They make us feel loved. They show us great affection. They do not judge us, or criticize us, or make us feel bad. We could ask for no greater stress reliever than the loving, accepting nature of the dogs in our lives.

“Dogs’ lives are too short. Their only fault, really.”
– Agnes Sligh Turnbull


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