They give unconditional love. They jump when you walk you in the door. They sleep beside you and follow your every step. Our dogs are more than our companions—they are a precious part of our lives and our families. It’s no wonder that so many people refer to their dogs as their “children”. It comes as little surprise that pictures and videos of dogs (along with some of their feline friends) are so popular online. As you age or recover from illness or injury, our beloved dogs can lift us up psychologically and physically.
The benefits of having a dog for older people is well documented. Studies show that seniors who have dogs have lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol than seniors without. Our canine friends can also help seniors reduce their risk of a heart attack by increasing activity.
You don’t need a PhD to witness the elevating effects that dogs have on our psyche. The simple act of petting a dog is relaxing. Especially for those recovering from surgery or major illness, having a dog around the house can be a huge stress reliever and help minimize depression.
Some people worry about being able to care for themselves, let alone a pet. This is where a caregiver can offer valuable assistance. In addition to providing assistance with feeding and grooming your dog, your caregiver can also make sure your home is well stocked with food, medications and supplements (for you and Rover!), as well as provide transportation to veterinary appointments … and even be the one to make those appointments.
One thing we haven’t yet mentioned is walking a dog, and this is probably the most healthful bonus of all. Walking your dog has priceless benefits. Just getting out in fresh air and walking is terrific for the body, mind, and spirit. There are those times, of course, when the weather can be inhospitable for man and beast. The snowy day, the rainy afternoon, the heat wave. Your dog needs to be walked rain or shine, but sometimes it’s best left to someone else. That someone can be your caregiver.
Don’t forget that walking your dog is also an opportunity to be social. Whether walking down your street or strolling in a park, dogs can be the best conversation starters of all. From Greenwich Point to Boston Common, from the trails in Pound Ridge to the paths in Martha’s Vineyard, our dogs give structure to our day and get us out to enjoy nature and the company of others. For some, one of the best days of the fall is when dogs are allowed on the beach! If your walking destination is not right outside your door, your caregiver can help load your dog into the car and get you where you want to go.
Believe us and millions of dog owners, a dog will keep YOU going.