I was reading an article the other day that I came across on the opinion page of the New York Times. It is interesting as it presents a collection of articles that show mixed results as far as the health benefits of owning a pet dog.
For instance a Pew Research Report shows that pet owners are just as likely to be very happy as those without pets of any sort. And if just cats and dogs are considered the results are pretty much the same.
In fact there is one Finnish study that demonstrated a statistically significant difference between pet owners and non-pet owners. It wasn’t quite what I expected. Surprisingly, migraine and asthma was associated with pet ownership and this particular study also failed to show the expected reduction in cardiovascular disease. And it did not support the generally held belief that dog owners exercise more either!
Can A Dog Be An Anti-depressant?
Some people get dogs to fill an emotional need, which in and of itself is not a bad thing. If you are depressed, it might be a better choice than drugs for some. But they can also bring real problems if the dog is not quite what you signed up for.
It’s not a guarantee, even if you got your puppy at that magical 7-week mark that he will bond with you and be exactly what you expected. And it is true as well with the older dogs. You just don’t know what you are getting and I think people are not always prepared for what they get.
I remember the first Greyhound rescue I had. He was an older guy and really beautiful. But he remained aloof despite my best efforts to bond with him. I tried everything! It was disappointing and frankly I took it pretty personally. After all, I had rescued this dog from being euthanized. The least he could do was to be grateful! I laugh at myself now for having that expectation. But I think it is fairly common.
Has your dog filled your expectations? Have they gotten you to exercise more, as you expected? Or have they facilitated friendships like some studies suggest? Has it been the experience you expected?