If owning a dog were available on prescription, then it would probably be one of the most commonly written and popular scripts dispensed by the NHS! Having a dog in your life offers so many benefits to people of all ages and the reasons to get a dog are numerous.
If you ask any dog owner the best reasons to get a dog, you're likely to get one of the answers below:
- A dog offers faithful companionship
- A dog becomes a member of the family
- They provide unconditional love and devotion
- A dog provides a reason to get outside in the fresh air every day and exercise
- Dogs can reduce stress, anxiety and depression – they offer both comfort and a reason to get up and get going
- They combat loneliness
- They have a calming and soothing influence
- They help us connect with others when walking them or attending training classes
- They provide security for your home
Companionship in Old Age
Everyone recognises the bond that people form with their dogs, which is why it is so hard for elderly people to give up their dog if they become too frail or unwell to care for them.
Organisations such as The Cinnamon Trust recognise the important and special bond between dog and owner - something that becomes even more important in advancing years and during illness. These organisations aim to support elderly or infirm people by keeping them with their faithful companion for as long as possible - offering support and care for the dog during their owner’s hospital stays and periods of ill health and infirmity.
There are other organisations, such as Pets as Therapy, who take well-behaved dogs into care homes, hospitals and hospices so that the residents can enjoy the benefits dogs offer. You only have to take a look at their faces to understand what it means to them.
Reasons to Get a Dog for a Child
The beneficial reasons to get a dog for children are plentiful. A dog is another living being who a child can interact and play with. They will become their best and most trusted friend throughout childhood and the turbulent adolescent years.
All children have to learn responsibility towards their dog in terms of care and welfare and understand what it means to put something before themselves.
Dog ownership teaches children about love, selflessness, responsibility and sadly, loss. These are experiences they take into adulthood. They become stronger and more rounded individuals because of these experiences. Let’s face it, anything that gets them away from their screens and out into the fresh air has to be a good thing!
For children with more complex needs such as autism or ADHD, a dog can be a constant in their life - a calming and reassuring influence. It has been recognised that interaction with dogs increases the desire and ability of a child with autism to connect with other people. Charities, such as Dogs Helping Kids, use dogs to support children and teenagers both at school and in the home.
Dogs accept people regardless of who they are. Children who are used to discipline and boundary setting from parents and teachers, will find that their dog accepts them just as they are regardless of any difficulties or behavioural issues they may have. Excess energy will be welcomed by a happy dog who will play and engage in games - providing the all-important physical outlet that many children thrive upon.
Man’s Best Friend
From assistance dogs and guide dogs for the blind to working dogs – sniffer dogs, police dogs, dogs in war zones, and therapy dogs – dogs play a huge role in the lives of so many people. There have never been more reasons to get a dog. They truly are man’s best friend.