Happy New Year to all my waggers!
Now is that time of year that everyone is beginning to implement new changes or trying new things. Although I do not endorse waiting for the New Year to begin before making positive changes, it tends to be popular among the general public. Here's a bubble buster: You can begin making changes at any time of the year! All you need is the right motivation, commitment, and most importantly, you need a strong enough WHY to keep you going long after you have achieved your goal.
The Holidays are notorious for bringing out our adventurous sides, as well as new hope that things could be better if we just made the right changes. The holidays can also have the opposite effect on us, making us want to curl up into a little ball and never leave the house. Whichever effect the holidays have on you, consider adding adopting a dog to your list of goals for this year. Be sure to read our previous posts to learn more about how dogs can actual help us live better and more fulfilling lives!
Now, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about adopting a dog. One of the goals of Wags for Wellness is to provide education on the benefits that dogs can provide to an individual's mental health. We also want to provide education on the ways to maximize on these benefits, instead of inadvertently causing negative experiences of adopting a dog without doing the research.
Raise your hand if you've had the following experience: It's that time of year that you begin to feel lonely, maybe a little depressed, anxious, or that life has been boring and mundane lately. After moping around for a bit, you decide to try to find ways to cheer yourself up, get rid of some of that boredom, or add a little meaning to your life. You stumble across a website of a local dog shelter. All those pictures of the pups just light your heart up and all of a sudden you MUST take them all home! Without doing much research, you bolt out the door to that shelter and begin the adoption process. You fall in love with the first pup you see, and without putting much thought into it you agree that you want that one. You go through with the adoption, take him to the pet store and buy all the food, toys, bowls, collar and leash. You bring the little guy home and have the best time playing, going for a walk and feeling like you have a purpose again. And then a few days pass. The dog starts to show some signs of untrained behaviors, maybe has a few accidents, or doesn't like strangers. The novelty all of a sudden wears off and you decide that you don't have the tools or the time to train this dog. Back to the shelter he goes.
Now, I don't tell this story to make anyone feel bad or like a terrible person. The truth is, I did this very thing when I was a young adult. I had just bought my own condo in Virginia where I was stationed, and found myself in the situation that I just described. And I know that I'm not the only one this has happened to. So, what if I had more information or education to better understand my thoughts and emotions? What if I had better resources to learn about what it takes to own a dog and how to maximize on those benefits that dogs provide? My mission is to help others like me do this the right way, at the right time, for the right reasons. Although dogs can provide a great benefit to promoting positive mental wellbeing, it is important that dog owners are aware of and capable of what it takes to properly take care of the dog and provide the right training.
My next few posts will be focusing on ways to prepare yourself for owning a dog, as well as the right process to go through once you make the decision that this is a good step for you. Be sure to check back every few days for new material!
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We truly hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday and new year. Be Well and Wag On!