Dogs Help With Depression

How do dogs help with depression? Well, one of many remarkable things about a dog is when it displays unconditional love. You can feel it. They are always happy to see you; unless they did something naughty, then they show you the sorriest, most guilty looking face!

If one or more of “life’s stressors” are getting you down, spend some time with a dog! Below is a summary of how dogs have helped me.

Life’s Stressors

My career spanned two different disciplines over four decades wearing a shirt and tie. 20 yrs. as a corporate accounting manager followed by 20 yrs. as an IT manager. Coinciding with my stressful professional life was my stressful personal life consisting of my wife and I raising a young family of three children, two dogs and a cat! We lost parents and a brother and we moved twice, once across state lines! I was under a lot of stress and beginning to show signs of depression and began to wonder could my dogs help with depression?

Adding to the bedlam, our 3rd child was born with a severe condition named Lissencephally, which required everyone’s utmost attention. At the time Lissencephally was relatively unknown and our daughter was the first case in the entirety of the Mid-Atlantic region. There were only 50 cases in the US. An incredible journey of learning. For an upbeat look at how we survived caring for a severely disabled child click here:

dogs help with depression with child with Lissencephally
Child with Lissencephally

I have to admit during this time of looming deadlines, career changes, needy children, moving, new medical apparatus, stressed marital relations and financial woes, I was stressed out and feeling down.

Stress Relief

Yes dogs are remarkable. If you own and/or care for a dog, you know there is nothing better than being greeted by a happy face with a wriggling body and wagging tail! Our dogs were named Pugsly and Smoochie and Samson (so named by the kids).

dogs help with depression. Chinese Shar-Pei dogs wearing Birthday hats
Chinese Shar-Pei dogs wearing Birthday hats
Chinese Shar-Pei are dogs help with depression
Chinese Shar-Pei dogs

Pugsly was rescued from a kill shelter and we adopted the other two from a family who couldn’t care for them. Two Sharpie’s and a Sharpie mix!

These dogs kept us busy! But look at those little faces. Super friendly dogs and they were soft and fuzzy too.

Playing with or petting an animal can increase levels of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin and decrease production of the stress hormone cortisol

Dogs Help With Depression

Today I am retired (out on disability, actually) but as they say, that is another story. It’s been a long summer seemingly fraught with more downs than ups.

So now, when I am not writing, I contemplate my life, star gaze, ponder the universe, and sometimes watch the depressing news. Having a new happy puppy around goes a long way in keeping my spirits up!

“One reason dogs can be so comforting when you’re feeling blue is that they don’t try to find out why.”

dogs help with depression
Stafford Bull Terrier

Pictured above is 6 month Artemis, our Staffordshire Bull Terrie. Artemis came to us from a family who could not keep her. It’s hard not smile with this fuzzy face looking at you!

As I think about it, dogs have inspired me throughout my life! Look for future articles featuring how inspiring they really were and the lessons they taught me. So yes, in my experience, dogs help with depression.

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