My Hound Dog, ❤ Driver…
I’d like to share with you a little ditty about my Valentine, my best friend, Driver the hound dog…
If you ask me, dogs are the ‘cure all’ for a good portion of life’s hardships. Be it devastating grief, all-consuming depression, or crippling anxiety, being a dog owner will remind you of life’s basic necessities: sleep, eat, go outdoors (play & cuddle, too).
Like a baby (human), dogs need help doing certain things to stay alive. You’ve got to feed them, trim their nails, brush their teeth, take them outside to relieve themselves, etc. These simple activities of daily living are ones we humans could (technically) neglect or deny ourselves, in the aftermath of a traumatic event.
Regardless of where you are mentally, emotionally, spiritually, or physically, a dog is a dog is a dog. You technically don’t have to take a shower for a month, but once you’ve taken your dog outside, and your blood is flowing, you’re more likely to have the energy to take care of your own basic needs while you’re at it.
Similarly, you can’t be upset at a dog for urinating inside, if you neglected to take him/her outside to do so, right? Tim Ferriss said something like this in a recent recorded podcast (follow this link to view How Getting a Dog Changed Tim Ferriss’ Life):
“Caring for a puppy takes your attention outside of any type of self-indulgent reflection/obsessive-compulsive rumination. If your dog chews on your shoes, that’s your fault. It’s a dog, and you left your shoes out. If you don’t want your dog to develop a taste for chewing on shoes, don’t leave your shoes out.”
The first result from a quick google search reinforced this. In an article called, “Can Dogs Help with Grief?” by Mary Alane Whalen, she cites several scientifically-based research findings to support this belief, as well:
“A recent study published in the Animal Cognition journal states that dogs are more apt to walk up to a person who is crying than when that person is exhibiting “normal” happy behaviors. The researchers concluded that a human crying had more of an emotional pull for the dogs – the dogs seemed to empathize with the crying human not from curiosity, but from pure concern. Dogs respond to the crying person’s need, not their own.
… It has also been proven that people that interact with dogs get an increased dose of oxytocin aka the love-feel-good-vibe hormone. Just by making eye contact with a dog, your oxytocin level will increase.”
Today, I’ve got an appointment this afternoon, and then we (Driver and I) will be headed to my folks house – one of his favorite field trips – for dinner. Tomorrow morning, since it will be less dangerously cold outside, we’ll go to the dog park. While I don’t know if Driver understands his role in my life, especially in my recovery from the hard times of 2017/2018, I will surely never forget.
Driver, my hound dog, has saved me from myself, and my grief, by simply being his hound dog self. This year, my dog is my Valentine, and that is that. Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day & Weekend! Remember to eat, sleep, and go outside 🙂
❤ ❤ ❤ always, Annie Z.
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How Getting a Dog Changed Tim Ferriss’ Life by Tim Ferriss and Ryan Holiday
“Can Dogs Help with Grief?” by Mary Alane Whalen