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5 Healthy Blessings of Having a Dog in Your Life

  • Diana LéGere Author
  • 2020 30 Oct
senior mature man relaxing with dog in park

If you're a dog lover, you'll swear blind. You could never live without a dog. Canines are family. It might shock you. Some people wouldn't let our four-legged friends step on the porch. My husband was one of them, while I am of the first group. 

Before we met, my black lab claimed the sofa and routinely sprawled out to reinforce her territorial rights. Asking a 150-pound dog to move requires trickery.

Our canine princess protested when asked to camp out in the yard. She lingered at the back door, nose pushed up against the glass, peeping inside to guilt us into letting her in. It was heart-wrenching to watch. Her camping trip lasted eight years until my daughter got an apartment, and Bella reclaimed her bougie lifestyle.

Views have shifted, and years later, my spunky chihuahua is a permanent resident inside. I thought I saved Pablo. Two previous owners died, leaving him an orphan pup. And he was a foster dog twice. But now that we've bonded, I'm sure he rescued me. He filled a gaping hole only a dog could fill. Our pets take care of us. Intentionally.

That nugget of insight has led me to understand that our canine companions boost our overall health and wellness. Here are five benefits of having a dog in your life.

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Wavebreakmedia

senior mature woman napping on couch with dog to relieve stress

1. Dogs Offer Stress Relief

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. – Psalm 94:19

It won't be hard to convince you; we live in a stressful world. A world in which trouble is promised, and perseverance is necessary. And even though we know God is almighty and on the throne, life can leave us weary and in need of simple comfort. According to wellness360magazine.com, "pets and therapy animals can help relieve stress, anxiety, depression, and feelings of loneliness and social isolation."

During these strange times, with COVID-19, stress relief is even more crucial. The good news is studies show that interactions with pets can reduce stress and even help people cope with their prolonged mental health ailments.

More than that, the comfort of a dog can provide a sense of security and well-being. Once your loyal protector has appointed you part of his pack, he will protect you at all costs. It's reassuring to know if the dog is quiet, all is well.

Lynette Hart, Ph.D., an associate professor at UCD Veterinary Medicine, says, "studies have shown Alzheimer's patients have fewer anxious outbursts if there is an animal in the home."

I say that’s true for all dog owners.

Besides calming us, playing with pets can reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. John Hopkins Medicine says that petting a dog lowers the stress hormone cortisol. And with no nasty side effects. Think about that when you reach for anxiety medication.

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/SeventyFour

senior mature couple hiking in woods in autumn with dog

2. Playing Fetch Leads to Fitness

Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? – 1 Cor. 3:16

Lazy people don't make good parents or dog owners. Dogs need a lot of attention, just like a child. Owning a dog means being on your feet for a lot of interaction, feeding, and grooming.

Recently, my chihuahua was sick. The poor little guy had me up at the crack of dawn and several times into the wee hours of the night asking to go outside. It was exhausting, but he needed me.

Every day, your furry friend will give you plenty of excuses to get off the couch and get outside, which will help your heart rate and loosen stiff joints.

When their little tail comes wagging, you can count on a few laps around the yard, whether you like it or not. And blistery frigid weather will have no sympathy for you.

To step up your activity, dogs love to play fetch, which can keep you burning calories. Take your pet to a park where there will be plenty of room to run. And plenty of opportunities to thank God for the beauty of His creation.

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Halfpoint

dog kissing senior mature woman

3. A Wagging Tail Breeds Happiness

A cheerful heart is good medicine... – Proverbs 17:22

Have you ever recollected a moment that made you feel the happiest? Probably when you were in love. You know...that the first stage in a relationship when someone is showering you with adoration? They can't wait to see you.

With your pup, that devotion will last his lifetime. The unconditional love of dogs gives us a glimpse of something truly divine.

"Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day," said John Grogan, the author of Marley and Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog.

They wait for us to arrive and are ready to cheer us up after a tough day. Pets do silly things and make us laugh. And we do stupid things to entertain them. The bigger fool we are, the more they love us. They're enamored, and it makes us feel good.

Dogs are non-judgmental and don't criticize. They "talk" only if you listen. But they'll love you faithfully, no matter what your mood or behavior. With all the love and laughter they bring into a home, life just feels more joyful.

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/RUBEN RAMOS

man snuggling with dog

4. Puppies Provide Purpose

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. – 1 Cor. 10:31

Seniors (and singles) will significantly benefit from owning a dog. In retirement, we aren't necessarily as driven by schedules and may not have as long a list of tasks to keep us busy. Our beloved dogs depend on us to take care of their needs. Just like a baby, they assign our schedule. To them, we matter very much, giving us a reason to get up in the morning. 

Caring for a pet gives is both purposeful and sacrificial, involving walking, grooming, feeding, cleaning up after them. No two days are alike...but each one will keep you busy.

"Puppies are constantly inventing new ways to be bad," says Julie Klam, author of You Had Me at Woof: How Dogs Taught Me the Secrets of Happiness. "It's fascinating. You come into a room they've been in and see pieces of debris and try to figure out what you had that was made from wicker or what had been stuffed with fluff."

Yes, dogs offer us genuine purpose and opportunities to share love.

5. Cozy Companionship

A sweet friendship refreshes the soul. – Proverbs 27:9

The national poll on healthy aging has led research to suggests that “loneliness may shorten life expectancy even more than obesity and just as much as smoking.” We all need companionship. Those isolated will find comfort in their canine buddy. 

According to the Cleveland Clinic, loneliness causes cortisol to rise in the body, which can compromise your immune system. 

Pets will become your best friend and loyal companion. And can manage loneliness and reduce depression. The human-pet bond brings happiness. Plus, dog owners socialize with other dog owners, which can widen your social circle. 

The relationship with your dog is truly special. It's been said that dogs come into our lives to teach us about love...and leave to teach us about loss. 

Dog spelled backward is God. Could it be a coincidence that a dog's selfless acts of love toward his master mimic God's love for us? Perhaps all dogs do go to heaven.

Recommended for You:

Does God Want Us to Have Pets?

Do All Dogs Really Go to Heaven?

Will There Be Pets in Heaven?

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Sviatlana Barchan


headshot of author Diane LeGereDiana LéGere is a Christian writer whose passion is to share her faith and life experience through her words and help other women do the same. She is the author of four books, most recent, Celebrations of Praise: 365 Ways to Fill Each Day with Meaningful Moments and the memoir journal, Ripples: A Memoir of Reflection.You can learn more about Diana and her books by visiting her website at https:www.womenofwordsrva.com.



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