Saturday, March 16, 2013

love.this.research. -- me + dogs = happy

I know, I know.  Another dog post.  I promise you this blog is not just about dogs, but dogs have EVERYTHING to do with my happiness.  So here goes...

If you ask any dog lover what having dogs contributes to their life, they will most likely, somewhere in a long list of responses, say that their dogs make them happy.

I realized in college that I have no chance at happiness without dogs.  They are love, they are spirit, they are everything to me.  Opie and Maizy are my babies.  They are always there to give me an emotional or spiritual boost.  They are always there to cuddle and to them, I am a rock star.  Who doesn't like feeling like a rock star now and then?  If I had it my way, I would live in a house on a little bit of land and have more dogs.  I almost didn't get away with having two dogs in my apartment but it is working out so well.

>>How Dogs Spread Happiness

Last year USA Today did a piece on how scientists are confirming the benefits that dog lovers have been raving about forever.  There are studies that show that oxytocin (that happy hormone) increases by simply petting a dog.  Oxytocin can lower your blood pressure and cortisol levels, thus reducing stress and anxiety.

I've always been somewhat of an anxious person.  Since a child, I've suffered from depression and anxiety.  Maybe that's why I feel this need to have dogs in my life.  They bring out the best in me, that is for sure.  When I am having a bad day, I go lay on the couch and Maizy lays on top of me, cuddling her head against my neck.  Opie burrows under the covers with me... how can I not feel loved and content in that moment?

This article also discussed how increased oxytocin can help people heal better.  I believe that every cancer patient needs a dog.  I know many people who have fought cancer with their warrior dog by their side.  They serve as a reminder of what's good in the world and you know they are always fighting for you, with you.

I tend to be a pretty healthy person in that I rarely get sick.  Could it be that my dogs keep me healthy?  Of course, I would never know.  I do know that when I am without my dogs, I miss them terribly.  And if it wasn't for wanting to be with my dogs, I wouldn't have left California so quickly.

I'll admit that I do not know the details of the studies that make these conclusions, but I can attest that dogs contribute to happiness.  And you know what?  It doesn't even have to be a dog.  If you're a cat person, I'm sure cats bring happiness as well.

I have had Maizy for a month now.  I spontaneously went searching for another dog (as if I'm not always searching) knowing full well that my happiness would skyrocket.  Opie gave me happiness, but I've wanted a companion for him for years.

Getting Maizy has been one of the best decisions in my life.  I look forward to "growing up" and moving out, starting a family, and giving my children the privilege of living with dogs.  With dogs, love abounds.

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