In recent years, research on animal assisted therapy has discovered both profound physiological and physiological benefits. Yet I don’t need any research report to tell me the one hard fact I know without a doubt: being around a cute animal is just insanely awesome!
Growing up with dogs, I do have a bit of a cute puppy obsession – but how can you not fall in love when you look into the eyes of a ridiculously adorable, fluffy little pup who loves you back for simply being you?!
So this is a shout-out to my dog in high school, Boo. The cutest puppy ever (not that I’m biased or anything) who listened when I needed someone to talk to, greeted me at the door like I was the greatest person on earth, and was always available for a snuggle.
Now if you can’t have a furry best friend at home – don’t despair. There are other ways you can experience that special bond.
- If you’re lucky enough to go to a school that offers an animal renting program like the one featured on today’s show – use it! For more inspiration, here’s another example of a great dog therapy program for students at Prospect High just outside Chicago.
- Want to play with animals and give back to the community? Many shelter animals severely lack human interaction. Volunteer to play, walk or run at your local shelter! Some cities, like Philadelphia, even organize group runs. You’ll get the chance for some one-on-one time with a furry friend, and you’ll make one lucky pup very happy.
- Walk your friend’s/neighbor’s/relative’s dog! As much as families love their own dogs, life gets busy and sometimes the daily responsibility of caring for an animal is too much. Your neighbor will love your generosity, and you’ll get the chance for a puppy play date!
- Pet sitting: An opportunity to play with cute animals and make money? What?!! It’s true. While pet sitting is a big responsibility (you are looking after the life of another animal after all) it’s a great chance to bond with an animal over a longer period of time (and did I mention you’ll make money too?)
- Don’t have enough money/space/time/whatever to care for a larger animal like a dog? There’s no need to give up. Studies have shown that smaller animals like goldfish and even house plants can promote well being.