October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. Dogs are our best friends. Some seem to be made entirely of boundless energy and unconditional love. Studies have shown that in the presence of our four-legged friends, stress lowers, our happiness-promoting hormones increase, our blood pressure lowers, and our self-esteem increases. During a particularly messy divorce and separation, a furry companion could be the perfect way to cope with the stress. Take note that pet ownership, even with all the mental benefits, is a serious commitment. Do get a dog, but only if you are serious about the responsibilities of ownership.
You’ve probably heard that adopting a dog is truly a selfless act. However, due to many of the health benefits, is it truly as selfless as you once thought? Their companionship and love help us feel good mentally. Their requirements for exercise and fun give us a great excuse to get up off the couch and start moving. During a divorce, sometimes a sense of purpose and routine can be therapeutic. A dog’s unconditional love and good company also fill the void. So, yes, while in some instances you are literally saving a dog’s life, they seem to give just as much as they receive.
There are numerous resources for finding a dog to adopt. The SPCA of the Triad has multiple listings of all types and breeds of dogs. The ASPCA also can filter by location. Particular shelters and rescue agencies also help facilitate adoptions. Adoption is usually much less expensive than buying from a reputable breeder. Most rescues and shelters will also allow a trial period to see if the adoption works out for both you and the dog.
I have adopted a rescue dog in the past and can attest to the amazing work the shelters do to help find homes for great pets. Dogs are intertwined with the history of the human race. They have evolved to be around us and understand us. This uncanny understanding is what makes them so special. And if you don’t have the time for a pet, consider donating so that these amazing places can continue doing their great work.