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'Owning a dog brings a sense of happiness and positivity to our home'

A pet is not just a friend for life, but also a saviour for mental health, physical health and loneliness. A paper by E. Paul Cherniack, and Ariella R. Cherniack reviewed the benefits of owning a pet, including increasing physical activity and cardiovascular health (particularly dog owners), decreasing the prevalence of depression and alleviating the feeing of loneliness – and I couldn’t agree more!

For me, being a dog mum is extremely joyous. After nearly 15 years of wanting a dog, my partner and I decided it was the right time once we moved into our new home together. When Alfie (our dog) came home for the first time, it was like he had always been in our lives, yet something was different. He brought a sense of constant happiness and positivity to our home which lightened everyone’s spirits. Alfie is always there for us through rain and shine and it honestly brings a whole new meaning of love to your heart. They are, put simply, your ‘baby’ and the fact that they rely solely on you makes you feel very important! They need you as much as you need them, and who doesn’t like to feel needed in this busy world that we live in.

Our daily routine consists of 2 x short walks (as he is only a small breed), feeding twice a day, cuddles whenever I can along with grooming. Grooming for Alfie includes brushing every few days, ear drops once a week, cutting nails when required, bath once every 2 weeks (unless he gets filthy on a walk!) brushing his teeth 3-4 times a week, and keeping on top of flea and worming applications.

Having a pet is a big responsibility and I think we all underestimate how much commitment they need. My tip to those thinking of getting a pet is to first, be 100% sure you are able to commit (hence why I waited so long), and secondly, be flexible to their needs as some pets are 24/7 and if they cannot come with you on a day out, you need to find someone to pop in or to have them all day. My final tip is one that I wish I was told, and that is to socialise them as early as you can to avoid anxiety or in Alfie’s case, not being a fan of many other dogs!

Author credit: Olivia Lecocq

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