If you've lost a partner or recently ended a longterm relationship, moving forward can be an extremely difficult transition.
It can take months, if not years, to recover from the shock of losing a loved one—and it's not uncommon to think you'll never find love again.
But it is possible to discover new love again without replacing the person you've lost.
For those who are grieving, owning a dog can save their life. There are countless success stories where people suffering from loss, depression and anxiety, have taken comfort from having a dog around to keep them company—not to mention a significant increase in their overall health.
A 2002 study by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) found that 76 percent of participants experienced reduced stress levels when given a canine companion, while 65 percent said their overall mental health improved.
In 2000, a similar study had been conducted by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA), and yielded even greater results. More than 85 percent of seniors who participated in the study indicated that "pets make their family or home life healthier, either emotionally or physically."
Dogs give us a reason to wake up each and every morning, and encourage us to leave our house regularly. They require continuous love, affection, nourishment and positivity to remain healthy. In learning how to take care of a dog, we better understand how to take care of ourselves.
Numerous studies have shown that dog owners benefit from more active lifestyles than those who don't own pets. A 2009 study funded by News in Health (NIH), revealed that, out of the 2,000 adults surveyed, dog owners who regularly walked their pets were more physically active overall and less likely to be obese than those who didn't own or walk a dog. Of the seniors in that participant pool, those that walked dogs also cited greater mobility in their homes than those who didn't have a pooch.
Another NIH-funded study observed 421 adults who had suffered heart attacks. One year later, it was discovered that dog owners were more likely to still be alive and in relative good health compared to those who didn't have dogs, regardless of the severity of their heart attack.
Dogs also have a profound effect on our social lives, as they require daily socialization and physical activities with other animals and their owners. For those recovering from loss and heartbreak, it's important to leave home regularly in order to avoid the onset of depression. Making new friends and expanding your social circle can seem daunting at first, but your dog will help you gain the courage necessary to interact with other dog parents.
Consider adopting a new furry friend—it'll not only greatly impact your own life, but you'll be saving a four-legged companion who deserves a good home. With millions of dogs being euthanized in the shelter system each year due to overcrowding, adoption is the kindest option.
While you may not be ready to fall in love with a partner again, you can still seek comfort and companionship with your pet.
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