I dreamed of having a dog for most of my life, but there always seemed to be some obstacle that prevented me. Travel, moving, the house was too small, etc. Finally, back in 2018, I adopted Moe. A rescue from Iran, she was a lean, fun-loving adult dog looking for her forever home. It was love at first sight. We quickly bonded, and she became my adventure companion. Nothing makes her happier than to race through the forest, dig under logs and chase after squirrels — except for maybe belly scratches and salmon sticks. She’s my pal, and life wouldn’t be the same without her.
When I think about the happiness my pup brings me, it comes as no surprise that during a year of significant social interruption, loneliness and stress — dogs came to our rescue. Literally, dog rescue agencies all over experienced a surge in adoptions as we humans hunkered down for the weeks and months ahead, craving the comfort and connection of a furry companion. A global pandemic seemed like the perfect time to commit to bringing in a new member to our families. No long days away at the office. No travel. Just lots of quality time at home, day in and day out.
One of the oldest domesticated creatures on the planet, dating back 130,000 years, dogs became an integral part of many societies over time as they evolved from their grey wolf origins. Once humans figured out agricultural practices, dogs had jobs, including hunting and livestock protection. Although there are still many, many working breeds in service today, by and large, dogs have become family members bringing unconditional love and loyalty into our homes.
Scientists have studied how this unique canine-human relationship impacts our mental health and wellness overall. Simply stroking a dog and making that physical connection lowers blood pressure and calms our nervous systems. When they rest their heads on our lap or curl up with us for a cuddle, that connection brings a great deal of comfort and a sense of ease.
Speaking for myself, living alone during a pandemic has had its fair share of lonely moments. When Moe curls up with me on the couch while I’m reading a book or motivates me to get outdoors for some fresh air — I am eternally grateful to her. She has helped keep me (mostly) grounded when life has felt a bit too overwhelming. She has a pretty strong intuition about my emotional state and usually gives me a little nuzzle when I feel sad or wantsFacing an uncertain future, we humans hunkered down, craving the comfort and connection of a furry companion. to play to cheer me up. I’ll wager that many people have similar experiences. Our pups seem to know when we need a little extra love.
As we look ahead to vaccinations and the world opening up a bit more, we’ll have to think about how this transition will feel for our companions. They’ve given us so much; it’s essential to consider how a shift back to the office or a couple of nights away might impact them. Our furry family members need us just as much as we’ve needed them. Pack mentality means that they are bonded and committed to us, and their very survival is based on our attention and care. Don’t forget who rescued who this year and give your doggo all the loving care they need to have a healthy transition back to a more open world.