“What dogs? These are my children, little people with fur who make my heart open a little wider” – Oprah Winfrey
I absolutely LOVE dogs – big dogs, little dogs, fluffy dogs, scruffy dogs, dogs, dogs!
It’s not just the varying breeds of dogs that I love; it’s the way dogs give us unconditional love that we crave from other human beings, without any question.
Dogs don’t care who we are, what we look like or how much money we have, they just love us anyway.
Dogs are my healthy addiction. I have French Bulldogs, five of them (ok yes I’ll let you call me nuts on that one)
Frenchies are known as the clowns of the dog world, and are bred for nothing more than companionship. They are stubborn and hard to train, but they are hilarious. My dogs make me laugh every single day.
Three years ago, my anxiety and depression were at an all-time high.
I was working for a bank that expected me to be nothing more than a robot for 5 days of the week, and I regularly experienced panic attacks before going to work.
I was always late, because I’d sit in my car frozen, unable to walk into the office.
I couldn’t sleep, yet I struggled to wake up.
It got to the point where it started to affect my life outside of work, and I was often told to ‘leave my feelings at the door’.
I was given warnings, put on performance plans, dragged into repetitive meetings, asked to take demotions, and FINALLY after five years, I said the words, “F-this, I QUIT.”
And honestly? It was the best thing I ever did.
That type of working environment was just not for me, I’m socially awkward at the best of times and I’ve only ever really felt comfortable around dogs, so I took the leap and became a full-time dog…
I took myself off and set up Canine Divine. A dog-grooming business, to which I owe a lot of my happiness. Setting up this business has opened my eyes to so much more than just shampoos, clippers and making dogs look cute. Every single day, I get to see the positive impact dogs have on my customer’s lives.
Dogs can help you overcome anxiety and provide comfort at the lowest times of your life. I’ve had customers tell me that their dogs have helped them through extreme emotional stress, such as breakups and the loss of a loved one.
It is scientifically proven that serotonin, a depression-fighting hormone, rises significantly after interactions with a live animal, specifically dogs. Our four-legged friends, really are so much more than a cute face and a wagging tail.
When I get home from work, my dogs greet me like they haven’t seen me in years.
This huge welcome home (from five dogs that all want to be fussed at the same time, *hello leg bruises*) normally results in me getting down on the floor and talking to them. Apart from my fiancé, I’d say my dogs are whom I speak to the most.
Sometimes I talk absolute nonsense to them and other times, it can get serious. If you do this too, I can assure you that, YOU ARE NOT CRAZY. It is healthy and totally recommended that you talk to your dog.
Dogs can also help children overcome fears of reading out loud. They can be your test case for that big presentation you have coming up. You can confide in them and trust that they’ll never tell a soul, nor will they ever judge you.
Over the last 10 years, the world has become much more dog-friendly. Pubs, restaurants, shops and even some workplaces are now welcoming in dogs. Even some airlines are now letting animals on their planes including dogs, cats, turkeys, ducks, chickens, a peacock and even penguins. PENGUINS!!!
The USA now allows people to register their pet as an Emotional Support Animal if they suffer from a mental health disorder.
Celebrities such as Miley Cyrus, Oprah Winfrey and Ryan Gosling have registered ESA’s. Although the Isle of Man hasn’t quite caught up with this yet, we have a fantastic charity called Paws for Therapy, which arranges for registered and assessed dogs to visit places such as the hospice, residential care homes and schools.
It has been proven that the company of a dog can reduce depressive symptoms in the elderly. Please check out their website here if you’re interested in arranging a visit from a therapy dog, or if you think your dog has what it takes to become one!
Although owning a dog is incredible, it is not for everyone. They can be costly and take up a lot of your time.
Before buying a dog please do your research on breeds that suit your lifestyle. I chose the breed that suited my lifestyle perfectly, and it is so important that you do too.
Talk to other dog owners, join pet Facebook pages such as ‘Pets Unleashed’, find a reputable breeder – or even better, give a dog a second chance by contacting a local rescue such as AID Rescue or the MSPCA