When I was recovering at home after multiple bouts in the hospital with heart problems, I was advised by my long term care case manager to get a dog. She felt it would help ensure that I'd get out walking every day and help me from sliding back into my workaholic tendencies of staying at the office too late. You can't stay late at work when your canine friend has an urgent appointment with a fire hydrant!
We didn't get a dog right away, but eventually we did - and it's one of the best decisions we ever made!
Having a dog has a key benefit... it is an excellent impetus to get out and get regular exercise. We take a daily 30 - 60 minute walk with our dog, Jed. And we go rain or shine, hot or cold. If we didn't have a dog I know we wouldn't always make the effort!
Pets don't talk back or give unsolicited advice. They are great listeners. And if you live alone, it beats talking to yourself!
Did you know?
We were allowed to bring the dog to a common area for a visit. I didn't tell my mother that we were bringing him - instead I told her we had a special surprise for her. When I wheeled her out to the atrium area there was my husband with Jed, the beautiful black Boxador.
My mother is very fond of the dog and had been touched to know that he'd been to her bedroom at home several times looking for her. As we visited, I couldn't help but think of the healing qualities of stroking a beloved pet. It can decrease your blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and dispel feelings of loneliness.
A loving relationship with a cherished pet just makes you feel good!
A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of.
A reality check
Of course all of this is assuming your pet doesn't have soiling or behavior issues. Then it could be a case of increased blood pressure!
Taking on the care and feeding of an animal is a long-term commitment - a commitment that can't be taken lightly.
But when you consider all the benefits (check out some of the suggested reading above, right), if it's compatible with your lifestyle it is well worth giving pet adoption strong consideration.
For more information on pets and heart health see pets and heart health at smart-heart-living.com.
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