I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, and in light of the current pandemic it feels more apt than ever. Today I wanted to talk about how my beautiful 3-year-old Frenchie Frankie has changed my mental health for the better. We’ve had him since he was a pup and he has grown into the sweetest, cleverest little companion. Having him around keeps me sane, especially during these uncertain times.
He encourages me to exercise. I love walking/exercising outdoors regardless; but owning a dog adds even more joy to my morning stroll. Seeing how excited Frankie gets when we take him out makes my day. I mentioned in my Slow Mornings post that we’re lucky in that we live in a fairly rural area, so it’s wonderful being able to explore the countryside and introduce Frankie to new routes; especially during the pandemic. Owning a dog has led me to fall in love with nature, which in turn has been amazing for my mental well-being.
He provides purpose. Getting a dog is a huge responsibility. Your life changes massively and from toilet training to 5am wake up calls, it can prove a real challenge. When Frankie was a puppy he was a proper little dictator – you couldn’t even turn your back for two minutes without him whining. Of course, dogs grow out of certain habits and become less ‘clingy’ so to speak; but you still have another being depending on you.
Our pets are like our children in a sense that they rely on us for everything; food, health care, entertainment, shelter… the list goes on! Nonetheless, it goes without saying that having a furry companion is 100% worth the time and effort. It has been such a joy to watch Frankie grow and develop his own little personality – he makes me laugh every day with his hilarious ways!
As well as giving us a sense of obligation, our pets also provide us with routine (which has proved to be a godsend during lock down). Walking, grooming and playing with Frankie is such a positive distraction and really helps lift me out of a funk.
Unconditional love. Dogs don’t judge, discriminate or hold grudges. They’re not bothered that you haven’t brushed your hair for two days or that you’ve eaten chocolate for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Dogs are friends for life – they’re fiercely loyal and stick with you through thick and thin.
If I’ve had a bit of a rough day, there’s no better feeling than knowing that Frankie is at home, waiting to greet me. Having him by my side whilst I cook/watch TV/blog is such wonderful company and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.
The best cuddles. It’s been scientifically proven than stroking your pet lowers your heart rate and lessens feelings of anxiety. Having a good old snuggle with my pooch is guaranteed to lift my mood, even on my lowest days. Frenchies are super affectionate and are known for their loving temperament, so it’s no surprise that Frankie loves a cuddle just as much as I do. He’s also partial to favouring my bed over his own – I often wake up to him curled up by my toes.
He’s helped me slow down. When we first got Frankie I’d just moved down from Newcastle upon Tyne. I’d lived alone in the city centre for a year and worked a short walk from my flat. I was so accustomed to my life being go go go but once I moved back to the Midlands, everything seemed to change. I was still busy, but having Frank encouraged me to slow down and appreciate the little things. As I’ve mentioned before, taking him for a good walk is one of my favourite pastimes and simple things such as listening to the birds sing or spotting a bed of beautiful flowers brings me so much delight.
Do you have a dog? x