Paws for Joy: How Dogs Enrich Our Lives

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A picture of a young brunette woman laying on her front on the grass with a brindle whippet laying side ways in front of her, both are facing the camera, it's a sunny day!

Our furry four-legged friends have an amazing ability to fill our lives with joy and laughter. 

Dogs have a profound power to lift our moods and spirits in both big and small ways daily, and I was lucky enough to witness this first-hand. From running on the local sandy beach and jumping over the wooden groynes and trying to dissuade from chasing squirrels up trees, to head kisses and sharing my bananas, we had 14 years of Roxy goodness – over half my lifetime thus far!

The science is clear – time spent with dogs reduces stress and boosts happiness hormones like oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine. In one study, when owners look into their dogs’ eyes for just 2-3 minutes, both human and canine oxytocin levels rose. The human-animal bond is powerful. Other research found that petting a dog for only 15 minutes significantly decreases the stress hormone cortisol and calms heart rates.

The fast-paced world we live in today only exacerbates mental health woes, but a study conducted showed that 87% owners dogs most positively affected their mental health, with pet owners as a whole admitting that their animal counterparts:

  • Help reduce stress and anxiety (69%).
  • Provide unconditional love and support (69%)
  • Offer companionship (69%).
  • Provide a calming presence (66%).
  • Are true friends (63%).

The unconditional love and comfort from a devoted dog is unmatched. They model living joyfully in the present moment – ready for adventure, play, and snuggles. Daily walks with your pup get you outdoors for fresh air, exercise and special one-on-one bonding. 

For those dealing with anxiety or depression, a dog’s natural happy-go-lucky spirit can be uplifting. Research shows that pet ownership promotes behaviors like more frequent exercise and increased social connections that enhance mood. Plus, it’s impossible not to smile watching your pup enthusiastically wag their tail as you walk through the door!

In this chaotic world, the unconditional love and constant companionship of a dog is a gift. They reflect back the joy that we give them. If you’re looking for more laughter and happiness in your life, consider adopting or fostering a pooch in need of a home. You’ll quickly find your heart overflowing with puppy love! Spread the joy – make a dog part of your family.

Ways to spend time with dogs

  • Look into getting one for yourself – getting a dog is a big thing, and one not to be taken lightly! They’re a huge commitment, which can see many getting taken to local kennels to be rehomed. Take this decision wholeheartedly and do your research – think about what breeds would suit your lifestyle, dogs aren’t just for Christmas and Birthdays, they are here for their whole lives and take a lot of money and time investment. 
  • Walk dogs for your local dog rehoming centers and charities – dogs waiting for homes need love too! You might not have the space at home for a dog, people who are allergic or you’re just not in the right place in your life for a dog yet, so why not give love to a dog who doesn’t have a home yet?
  • Borrow a dog – whether one of your friends or someone in your family has one or you’d like to start dog-walking as something to do or to get some extra cash, this can get you your doggy fix, without having the constant responsibility.

Local Dog Rescue Centers in West Sussex

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