Get fit with a 4-legged friend

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

As a dog-lover, it is hard for me to be renting my home.  I wish I could have a four-legged friend greet me when I walk through the door after work and encourage me to go for a run in the morning.  But I am also responsible and don’t want to give up a pet because I can’t find a new place to live.  That is why I was so excited to discover Borrow My Doggy last year!  It seemed to be the perfect match for my doggy cuddles needs while maintaining my semi-nomadic lifestyle.

Photo from:
http://www.dogbreedsinfo.eu/dog-breeds-that-like-to-run.php
About half of the homes in the UK have pets.1 Many people had cats and dogs growing up or have pets as adults.  Have you ever noticed how being around dogs makes you happy and calm? For many people, owning a dog is not possible (due to work schedules, housing regulations or allergies) and it can be very frustrating.  Petting a random dog on the street has a temporary effect and sometimes the dog could care less that you are there (the latter is what usually happens to me).  This is where the genius of Borrow My Doggy comes in.  When you are matched up with a potential playmate, you are also doing loads of good for your health too.

It has been shown that dog owners have lower blood pressure, better recovery after heart attacks, less stress and less incidents of depression.2 The hypothesis that dog owners getting more exercise (because they are taking their dogs for walks every day)3  is supported by the fact that dog owners have better cardiovascular readings, such as systolic blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides.2 It is such a simple thing to own a dog and yet your body responds so positively to the companionship and exercise.  Depending on your age, these health benefits might not seem important right now but one day they will be!

Dogs are also a great way to meet people.  They are an instant conversation starter and prevent people from experiencing social isolation.1 I am always talking to dog owners in parks and on the street (as I have a tendency to want to meet every dog I see).  Pets are an easy ice breaker and way to get to know someone.  The silent connection dogs have with people is one of the reasons why nursing homes and adult care residencies have therapy dogs visit.4 Dogs give affection and a loving touch without question.  They can improve the mood of residents who are lonely or afraid.  Their antics can also be very entertaining if they are a bit naughty.  Intrinsically, the companionship a dog brings also can spark spontaneity when playing or going for a walk, relaxation when cuddling, and of course increased exercise.

So if you have a dog already, congrats on a lifetime of good health. By sharing your pup you will greatly improve the quality of life of a neighbour and new friend.  If you are the one doing the borrowing, embrace the opportunity to be more active and receive unquestionable love from your new furry friend.  I have recently moved to the Mill Hill area and am need of a new doggy.  There seem to be many living on my street.  Please get in touch if you have one for me to meet!

1McNicoloas, et al. BMJ 331 p1252-1254. 2005.
2Cutt et al.  Health & Place 13 p261-277.  2007.
3Serpell. J. of the Royal Society of Medicine 84 p717-720.

4Therapy Dogs International website

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