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Can a Dog’s Unconditional Love Help People Heal?

silhouette of dog and personIn recent years it has become more and more obvious the huge role dogs play in healing, assisting and protecting people.

Their unconditional love for us has them going above and beyond their duties as man’s best friend. So, how can dogs help people?

Healing in Amazing Ways

High blood pressure tends to drop when a dog is snuggled up next to a stressed out person.

Heart attack victims who own pets usually have a better chance of surviving longer than those who don’t.  Dogs help heart attack victims get out and walk around the block instead of sitting at home being depressed.

In fact, I find it very difficult to be depressed around a dog.  They always have a way of making me feel better.  Dogs heal broken hearts and wounded souls.

 Therapy Dogs: Training Your Dog to Reach Others Dogs to the Rescue: Inspirational Stories A Dog Who’s Always Welcome A Dog Walks Into a Nursing Home

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Therapy

Dogs are used as therapy pets visiting nursing homes and hospitals.

They bring smiles to many sick, elderly or terminally ill people. They help others with rehabilitation therapy, such as encouraging someone to use their arms by throwing a ball for a dog. therapy dog for senior

Seniors who live alone can sometimes become depressed and withdrawn.

But if a dog is brought into the home as a companion for an elderly person, that person may have a noticeable change in personality.

Suddenly they have someone to talk to and keep them company, someone who will love them unconditionally and regardless of how many times they repeat themselves or how they look.

They also have an alarm system now to alert them to a possible home invasion or other emergency situation.  Most dogs are protective of their homes and will bark to alert of any intruders.

Having a dog to take care of also gets a senior out into the world, whether it’s simply to take the dog to the grooming shop for a haircut or nail trim or go for a short walk in the park.  Dogs help seniors get out and socialize.

Assistance Dogs

Then of course there are assistance dogs, such as seeing eye dogs for the blind, hearing dogs for the deaf, dogs that are taught to do certain tasks for paraplegics or other disabled persons and dogs actually prescribed by physicians as companions for severely depressed individuals.

It is well known that some dogs are able to sense when their person is about to have a heart attack or a seizure or when their blood sugar is low.  Some dogs even sniff out cancer.

assistance dogsAnd these are only a few of the means by which dogs are able to help the sick or disabled.

The condition or phobia called agoraphobia is when a person has for some reason become too panic-stricken to venture outside of the home.  In some cases, a dog is able to gradually help the person overcome this paralyzing condition and once again go out in public.  Dogs help heal phobias.

The same thing is true for some people who have conditions such as panic attacks or are manic-depressive.  If they have a dog to embrace or talk to during an episode, it can calm them.  Dogs offer mental health support without even realizing it.

 Guide Dogs! A Kids Book About Guide & Other Assistance Dogs War Dogs: Tales of Canine Heroism, History, and Love Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him Training Your Own Service Dog: Step by Step Instructions

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The Chemical Benefits of Being Close to a Dog

Bonding with dogChemicals are released within our brain as a warm furry dog snuggles up close to us.  Our emotions are influenced by changes in our brain chemistry.

Such biochemicals as dopamine, beta-endorphins and oxytocin are released in our bloodstream when we bond with a living creature such as a dog.

This stimulates positive effects including tranquility, happiness, feelings of safety and even love.

Dogs are being used to help us heal more than ever before.

They are able to

  • soothe us
  • lower our blood pressure
  • make us happy
  • relieve depression
  • help us become more active
  • calm our nerves
  • alert us to low blood sugar
  • see for the blind
  • hear for the deaf
  • detect cancer
  • and totally accept us for who we are.

I believe God uses dogs to help us in ways other humans maybe can’t.  And these are just a few.

So, can a dog’s unconditional love help people heal?  That would be a resounding “yes”!

Below is a video of how one dog helped a veteran overcome his PTSD when everything else failed.

 

 

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 6 comments
Clearissa Coward

Gret article. I know my fur baby helps me to calm down. He also does silly things that simply make me laugh.

Reply
    dogblog

    Yes, Clearissa, that’s another thing – my dog makes me laugh all the time! Sometimes just the way she looks at me cracks me up. She’s very expressive.

    Reply
Lesley

Dogs are the best companions, I much prefer them over cats (shh.. don’t tell people though). I lost my dog 4 years ago, he was old, lived a long life, as a senior I really had to do a lot for him on a daily basis.. He was a great companion for so long. We walked together, we talked together, we went for long drives.. He was always there for me, never judged me.. ha ha I haven’t been able to bring myself to get another dog.. at least not for awhile.

Reply
    dogblog

    Lesley, I’m a dog person, too. Cats are too unpredictable – rubbing on you one minute, biting you the next without warning. Okay, well, not all cats, but I’ve never had a dog that was unpredictable. Have you ever watched “My Cat From Hell?”. Okay, I won’t go there. Just sayin’. Thanks for the comment and when you’re ready for another dog – it will find you!

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Sylvia Mayfield

My first dog, a black lab, crossed the rainbow bridge in my arms on my birthday at the age of 15. That was in 2013. Up to that point he’d been my shadow, my buddy & best friend. He loved my husband to be sure, but we were inseparable. I am convinced that dogs (and cats) make wonderful “healers” because he was for me. Great, great article!! Thank you!

Reply
    dogblog

    I’m so sorry to hear that, Sylvia. At first I thought you meant you were 15 when your dog died. And then you said you were married and I’m thinking – you were married at 15? I mean, I guess it’s possible. But then I realized you meant your dog. 15 is a pretty good life span for a lab, but of course it’s never long enough. Labs are such great dogs and are used in so many ways to help people. I’m glad you got to share your life with him and vice versa. I think the most difficult thing about losing a dog is losing that unconditional love. Thanks for sharing!

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