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Who Knew? My Dog is Good for my Health

Pets help both your physical and mental health

I’m sitting at my kitchen table, trying to sew the stuffing back into a green toy snake.

Why? For the love of a dog.

The snake belongs to my dog Brooklyn, a Labrador Retriever, who loves to dig the stuffing out of it.

Sound Mind and Body


Three years ago, we got the first dog I’ve ever had as an adult. Like many new dog owners, we’ve discovered the many joys of loving and being loved by a dog. We’ve also found that her ability to manipulate us into getting what she wants is unparalleled!

But I’ve also learned that owning a dog is actually good for your health, both physically and mentally. For example, one study found that pet owners had “greater self-esteem, were more physically fit, tended to be less lonely, were more conscientious, were more extroverted, tended to be less fearful and tended to be less preoccupied than non-owners,” the lead researcher was quoted in a news release.

Another study found that dog owners are up to six times more active than non-dog owners. I can vouch for all of the above findings. Even if I’ve already worked out that day, Brooklyn does not care. She wants to go for a walk or to chase balls. There’s no doubt I get more exercise since she came into my life.

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Also, thanks to Brooklyn, I’ve met many people in my neighborhood I might never have known. When we go for a walk, Brooklyn insists on going up to everyone we see. Her attitude seems to be, “Oh, look! A new friend! I bet they want to pat me!” Most of the time, she is right.

According to yet another study, that walk is making my healthier by the minute. The researchers found that middle-aged people who regularly walk their dogs reduce their risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure and depression.

Along with learning how good it is for people to own dogs, I’ve also learned how many dogs at our local animal shelter need good homes. So, if you want to improve your health while also saving the life of a homeless dog, please consider adopting from them. Get more info at oxfordpets.com.

But now, I have a snake to stuff, then it’s time to go for our walk. Thank you, Brooklyn, for the great love, joy and health you have brought to my life.

Robin Street teaches journalism and public relations at the University of Mississippi. She is also a freelance journalist specializing in preventive health, fitness, nutrition and mental health. She has masters degrees in both journalism and wellness from Ole Miss.  rbstreet@olemiss.edu          


Sound Mind and Body

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