dogs self-care Wellness

Why Getting a Dog Was the Best Choice I Made for My Health

August 12, 2016

I started this post last year after our first couple of months of fostering Rhett. FYI Rhett update at the bottom of the post!

Now I’m a week and a half into puppy training our new puppy, Bodhi and I’m questioning if getting a dog really was the best decision for my health…

But despite the 3:00 AM wake-up calls, chewing EVERYTHING and a small bout of giardia, I have no doubts that once this little guy is trained, I’ll go back to my belief that dogs truly are the gateway to optimal health.

Also he’s currently having puppy dreams next to me in bed, while I write this post and I cannot imagine anything that could make me happier.

Why Getting A Dog Was The Best Choice I Made For My Health.

I remember taking Rhett on a walk during a cold, winter morning with a blizzard circling around us. As someone who HATES winter, being forced to wake up early to go outside is not exactly my dream activity. But when a man’s gotta pee, he’s gotta pee.

For as much as I may have hated this activity, I knew that he was the reason I was up, dressed and outside when I normally would have been on my third round of snooze in bed. And then I looked over and watched as he gleefully hopped around in the snow, blissfully unaware of how cold and dark it was outside. Digging deep down through the frozen earth to reach his treasure, a stick, all I could think of was how beautiful it was to watch the simple pleasures of life play out in front of me. Suddenly my frozen eyelashes and icicle toes mattered very little. I was fixated on this display or true, authentic pleasure.

It made me realize how much my life has changed since getting a dog, and perhaps more than anything, how much healthier I’ve felt – both physically and mentally- since expanding our little family.

Why Getting a Dog Is The Best Choice For Your HealthOf course Rhett is now back with his Mom and we’re in the process of training Bodhi, but everything I realized in that instant still holds true. Getting a dog was truly the best choice I made for my health.

Here’s why:

1. They make you get UP whether you like it or not

I am not an early riser. In fact if I had it my way I’d sleep till 10:00 everyday. But this just isn’t a possibility with a dog. Sure, there are moments that I’d like to be able to sleep-in later, but having a pup has forced me to get out of bed, get dressed and be a more productive human before I’d normally hit snooze (for the first time). Getting my day started earlier has meant finishing earlier and I’ve been able to shut off work by 5:00 PM. I also can easily spend all day in my PJs, but I promised I would never be one of those dog moms who takes their dog out in a sweatsuit. I now have a reason to look like a relatively fashionable human instead of a contestant on “What Not To Wear”.

2. They Get You Outside

Rain or shine, you’re out there! When I’m not travelling, I’m a total homebody. My friends know that if they want to see me, it has to be within a 4 block radius of my apartment. But with the dog, I’m forced to go outside even if I want to stay buried in the hole that is my apartment. One of the best and most simple things you can do for your health is to just step outside and breathe in the fresh air.

3. They Get You Moving

My dog(s) have completely transformed the way I’ve looked at exercise. Sometimes there just isn’t enough time to hit the gym, get all my work done and walk the dog. This has meant changing the way I approach exercise and incorporate it into my life. Most of my cardio these days is either walking or occasionally jogging with the dog. I’ll hit the gym for a quick HIIT workout or weight-lifting session, but with even fewer hours left in the day to workout, adding cardio on top of this isn’t an option. If anything, having a dog has helped me move more in general and even more intuitively.

4. They Remind You What’s Important

It doesn’t matter how long my to-do list is, the dog has to be cared for. I’m someone who will try to pack in a million things and if I don’t have boundaries and limitations to ground me, I will aim for a level of productivity that is near impossible. Having a dog has taught me to say no to opportunities that aren’t my passion because I just don’t have the time. I would rather be out on a walk with my dog than working on a project I know I won’t enjoy.

5. They’re a great replacement for free-weights

I think I did the stairs 12 times yesterday with Bodhi (who weighs 16 lbs at 9 weeks – lord help me!) in my arms. I guarantee I have Mom arms by the end of puppy training.

6. They provide endless love and comfort

There are days when I feel stressed and overwhelmed and there’s truly nothing like a puppy cuddle or some doggy kisses to make it better. My stress levels are still pretty high, but they’ve definitely decreased since adding a pup!

7. They help you focus on something besides yourself

I can get a little too focused internally when I’m probably better off focusing on something besides how to fix EVERYTHING. Caring for another being forces you to get over your bad hair day or acne or whatever stressor du jour when a little creature is depending on you for their survival. Also he loves me even with zits on my face and an afro on my head so why wouldn’t I love myself?

8. They get you out exploring

True life, I totally forgot I lived on a lake. When you get a dog, you suddenly start to want to explore places in your own neighborhood and beyond. After you do the same walk 200 times you begin to want something new. Plus you also want the dog to have the ultimate adventure so you’re always looking for new places to explore. We’re so looking forward to Bodhi being old enough to go camping and on hikes!

Why Getting A Dog Was The Best Choice I Made For My Health.

Obviously, getting a dog is not the right choice for everyone, but for me it was exactly what I needed. I’m so much more productive (minus the current sleep-deprived state I’m in), active and have a renewed perspective on what’s truly important. Adding Rhett and then Bodhi was like getting a green juice, yoga session and avocado toast all wrapped into one…everyday.

If you find yourself needing an excuse to be active, are willing to have a flexible schedule and open to endless love, you may want to consider getting a puppy!

And for those of you wondering about Rhett, he’s doing great! As many of you know, we watched him for 9 months while his mama (my bestie) finished medical school. He’s now happily reunited with her and we see him several times a week. We’re also currently watching his feline brother, Obi Wan Kenobi before he moves to Edmonton next week.

Why Getting A Dog Was The Best Choice I Made For My Health.In the meantime, we are loving getting to know Bodhi’s personality and while raising a puppy is no easy feat, we could not be more in love! And because we all know I really just wrote this post to bombard you with puppy pictures, here you go!

Why Getting A Dog Was The Best Choice I Made For My Health.Why Getting A Dog Was The Best Choice I Made For My Health.Why Getting A Dog Was The Best Choice I Made For My Health.

So tell me, are you a dog person? Do you feel like your dog or other pet has made you healthier?


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  • Reply
    Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen
    August 16, 2016 at 8:04 am

    Bodhi is ADORABLE! What kind of dog is he?

    I really want to get a dog but I’m on the fence about if we can make it work with our schedules, since we’re both at work 8 hours a day and I would feel bad leaving a dog alone for that long!

  • Reply
    Jen @ Chase the Red Grape
    August 14, 2016 at 11:21 pm

    Oh a doggie can bring so much happiness into your life, even if you didn’t know you needed it!
    My husband and I are desperate for a dog. We currently rent in an apartment where pets are not allowed… But are hoping to move around march next year simply so we can get one!

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      August 15, 2016 at 8:03 am

      Awww well hoping you find another building that will allow pets! They really do make everything better!

  • Reply
    August 13, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    What a beautiful post! I have been fostering puppies and dogs in need for about a year and it is so emotionally rewarding.

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      August 15, 2016 at 8:04 am

      That is incredible! It truly is life-changing to get an animal a home – for both you and them!

  • Reply
    Tal's Beauty Opinion
    August 13, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    So Cute! I became a puppy mommy 2 months ago. Completely agree with 100% of your points. I love sleep to, but my little man gets me going and keeps me on my toes 🙂 They are such joys to have and My husband and I can’t imagine our lives without him now <3 Tal xo

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      August 15, 2016 at 8:04 am

      Yes! You totally understand how I feel! Sad that he’s growing up so quickly but looking forward to him being potty trained 😉

  • Reply
    Ashley @ Fit Mitten Kitchen
    August 13, 2016 at 9:53 am

    oh my god dying. ddyyiinnggggg. “mom arms” lol. Seriously jealous of all that cuteness you get to snuggle ever day. I would gladly travel the 5 hours to babysit 😀

  • Reply
    August 12, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    Oh my goodness these pictures are adorable! I have dog sat before but never had a dog of my own… but I can certainly relate! As much as I love spending time outside and going for walks… having a dog gave my walks a much greater sense of purpose! Haha. Their enthusiasm and happiness when you come home was also pretty great. And it’s so true… definitely a good reminder of the simple pleasures in life! Good luck puppy-training!

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      August 15, 2016 at 8:06 am

      Thanks, lady! And if you’re ever in T.O. and looking for an excuse to walk, I’ve got two of them 😉

  • Reply
    August 12, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    Bodhi is so cute! This almost sounds like you’re ready for a little baby… 😉

  • Reply
    Kelsey / A Turquoise Lining
    August 12, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    Yay! Thank you for the little update – I was hoping we would be able to learn a little more about cute Bodhi! We added our kitty, Lumi, to our family almost two years ago, and I can say some of the points you stated are true (except for the getting outside part…). She seems to sense when I need more down time; for example, if I’m trying to get up because I feel I need to get something done, she will jump up and snuggle right in. Personally I am not the biggest dog person for myself, which stems from being attacked my junior year of high school from our family dog. It was one of the most traumitizing events in my life, and only in the last year or so has my anxiety improved from dogs. I don’t know if we will add a dog into our lives, but I have already told Matt I’m going to be a little picky on what kind we get. It will be the only way for me to find 100% comfortable always having a pup around!

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      August 15, 2016 at 8:08 am

      Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear that! That would be totally traumatizing. If you’re ever looking to hang with a sweet and calm puppy, I’ve got your back 😉 Bodhi might be exactly what you need to become a dog person again! But if not, I’m a total cat person too 😉

      • Reply
        Kelsey Yoki
        August 15, 2016 at 8:21 am

        I can definitely do sweet and calm – looks like Toronto may need to be my trip of choice next year! <3

  • Reply
    dixya @food, pleasure, and health
    August 12, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    I can sooooo relate to this. I have had Bailey for 3 years now and I am so in love with her. It is definitely a challenge and i couldnt have done it alone without my boyfriend.

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      August 15, 2016 at 8:09 am

      So true that you need to extra support! Raising a puppy requires a village!

      • Reply
        May 13, 2020 at 10:36 am

        #adoptdontshop please

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    August 12, 2016 at 8:54 am

    God I remember Oscar as a kitten. There were moments I wanted to harm him. He was soooo rowdy and energetic. These days, he spends most of his time outside and his nights sleeping on a pillow above my head. He also wakes us up around 5 or 6 every morning to go out. I wouldn’t trade him for anything. The same goes for Samantha my illusive white cat who is curled up in my lap at this very moment.

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      August 15, 2016 at 8:10 am

      Somehow I knew you would make me a cat person…well between you and Obi Wan, I’m now desperate for a kitten. I figured I may as well raise a dog and a cat together, right?? Also your pet naming skills are on point.

  • Reply
    Sara @ Oats & Rows
    August 12, 2016 at 6:08 am

    I am seriously SO in love with little Bodhi, and this post! I got a puppy after a break-up AND moving to a new city. I have always been a huge dog lover and knew I would be getting one of my own at some point, but getting Winston at the point in my life that I did, it was the best decision I ever made!

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      August 15, 2016 at 8:10 am

      Puppies are legit the cure to everything, including heartbreak! So happy you understand what I mean about them being the best.decision.ever!

  • Reply
    Stella @ Stellicious Life
    August 12, 2016 at 5:40 am

    Aww he’s too cute for words, I’d just love to cuddle him 😀

    I totally get you. Boyfriend and I have been feeling the need to have a pet that we can cuddle and nurture for the past year and now we agreed that once our lease is up next summer, we’ll look for a place with a garden where we could have a dog 🙂 (And great point, having a dog who needs to be walked would force me to walk/go out/work out more, double win!)

    My only question to you is how do you manage the dogsitting when you and C are away? Who watched Rhett/will watch Bodhi when you are travelling some place you cannot take him? This is my only doubt considering our active globetrotter lifestyle.

    And bring on the adorable puppy pics, love looking at them! 🙂

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      August 15, 2016 at 8:13 am

      I’m gonna hold you to it! Checking in on you at this time next year to see if you’ve added a pup 😉

      As for dog-sitting, Rhett has a little tribe of people who are happy to step in when we travel. It’s a bit trickier now with Bodhi, but Rhett’s mom watches him if we need an extra set of hands and my family is awesome. Or C and I just travel separately!

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