Okay so I'm sorry to all of you that don't love dogs (if you don't then why?) , have a dog, or even care, but animals have a great impact on your health!
I wanted a dog ever since I had the capacity to feel a pure obsession with the perfect animal. I got home after work one day, and went into our playroom where my family were sat all excited and secretive with a big box in the middle of the room. I HAD NO IDEA. 21 years of stroking every dog I saw in the street, and I had a fur baby all to myself! Teddy makes me incredibly happy every single day, and I miss him like hell when I am away, its coming up to his third birthday and I cannot imagine life without him!
I had to attach just two more pictures of him as a puppy just to show you my favourite surprise I will ever experience...
Studies around the world show that animals are perfect therapy for people with chronic illness. Why & How you ask?
Mental Health- People diagnosed with RA are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. In a 2017 British Study, they found that around 30% of patients developed depression within 5 years of RA diagnosis. And that women are more likely to develop depression in the 5 years after diagnosis compared to men. Understandably this can be caused by chronic pain, fatigue, physical disability, a new quality of life. Animals provide companionship and contribute to your mental health by providing unconditional love, a healthy distraction from pain, and there amazing personalities. Every time I leave the house, even if it is for ten minutes, the moment I walk back through the door I get the best welcome home kisses and excitement to see me from my puppy, and nothing else puts a smile on my face and makes my heart that happy.
Dogs require one or two walks a day, walking is excellent exercise for arthritis patients as it is low impact so is easy on the joints but gets the heart pumping, the endorphins released to make you happier, and an increase in energy levels. This also allows you to be sociable on the days you might not feel like it, wether that be meeting up with your friends for a walk, or saying hello to a stranger, this all impacts on your mood more than you will know.
Sometimes it can be really hard to get out of bed right? Some days you feel too much pain, or your so fatigue you could just lie there and watch Netflix all day! Having a pet requires responsibility, you have to get out of bed to let them out for a wee, to feed them, and to get those beautiful morning kisses and excitement to see you. This can distract you from morning pain, give you purpose, and provide a reason to get up and go every day.
Dogs have the ability to sense emotion in humans. If I am upset, or in pain, my dog will lick tears off my face or sit next to me to show me he is there for me. When I'm happy and excited we'll run around the house and play together. Dogs look at our eye contact and body language to see what we want them to do, recent studies confirm that they can in fact sense our emotions, and adapt their own to fit ours, and they also can use their amazing sense of smell. Read this research study by By Dr. Karen Shaw Becker to learn how they use their smell. This is how the clever babies can sense the person in the room who doesn't like dogs. They sense our emotions, follow our pointing gestures and read our facial expressions. They have the cognitive ability to recognise facial expressions linked with particular sounds to distinguish between happy and sad emotions.
MORE RESEARCH HERE
Dogs can also get arthritis and chronic illness so you might have an understanding fur baby who knows what you are going through.
I think dogs have an incredible impact on your life. They give you unconditional love, always up for a cuddle, they keep you moving, make you sociable, always happy to see you, they listen (yes I talk to my dog), and they make me smile, even if its another dog I see in the street. All of these reasons make you happier, and if you are happier you have less chance of developing depression and anxiety from your chronic illness. When you have chronic pain, you can develop depression from the struggles with it, but you can also develop RA from the impact depression has on your body, its a vicious cycle!
Dogs love love and so do humans. Rescue, foster, adopt, there's so many possibilities and always the perfect doggo out there for each family.
Thanks for reading,
Chloe & Arthur, and Teddy helped a bit too haha