I have been a lover of dogs since, well, forever. And now that we’re in lock down thanks to Covid-19, who better to have as your isolation companion than a dog?
Companions are those that we choose to spend a lot of time with and, in isolation, mental and physical health can be hard to maintain. But dogs get us out for walks every day (and sometimes more than once a day – I think twice is better) and research has proven that for mental health – a loyal dog is one of the best supports you can have.
Through the simple act of running you hands through their fur, watching them play, or grooming them, your blood pressure lowers and oxytocin (the hugging hormone) is released. Dogs are experts at unconditional love – even when you’re a bit stressed or depressed at being isolated from your normal life.
Dogs are just plain good for the mental health of their human companions.
Consider that we’ve been locked down for 2 weeks….
- Izzy and I haven’t fought once
- We don’t compete for internet access or the television
- I have more time to cook for Izzy and she’s quite happy about that
- Our walks are longer, with no time pressures
- Cuddling in bed is taking on a whole new importance for both of us, particularly as we are back on standard time and having cooler nights
- Every day – or at least part of it when I’m not working – is a weekend
I hope that one of the lessons we learn from Covid-19 is the importance of pets and that all dog parents will continue to set aside quality time with their dogs. And for those non-dog people, some of whom are probably going to be divorced this time next year, I highly recommend a dog.
In isolation or not – they are the best companion you will ever have!
Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand