Adopting a dog is an amazing journey, not always easy but always transformational. We start off thinking that we are giving a homeless dog a home but in fact the relationship that becomes, no matter the length of time, is often profound on some level. What we get in return far surpasses anything expected and to many people, they feel like they were the ones who were saved.
Animals find their way to us somehow. They come into our lives, bringing information we need, opening opportunities for us to grow, and helping us to heal.
The act of bringing an animal into our lives already changes the frequency of things. Animals live in the moment, and are the embodiment of joy, even if damaged by Man. Sharing our space and caring for another life opens us up to living differently. Maybe it’s as “simple” as changing our schedule, habits, and lifestyle. Or it can trigger a deeper, more philosophical spiritual way of thinking and participating in the world. Caring for an animal helps us be better humans.
Probably the single most common answer adopters give when asked what is the best thing they received from adoption is UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.
Many people adopt because they want companionship. Retirement. Departure of a spouse or kids off to university. A broken heart. Dogs make great companions since they are a pack animal. Not only social, but being masters of communicating with body language, they are attuned to us,
Often people don’t even realize how closed off their heart was until an animal, like their dog, touches it. An animal can help us remember how it feels to be loved, and loved unconditionally, without question, without compromise, without expectation. Being loved this way heals heart traumas we may have suffered. Once our heart chakra opens, amazing things happen – miracles some call it – and it’s fair to say that a healed heart is necessary for the progression of our spiritual journey.
Our dogs can also help with our physical and emotional well-being. The more obvious benefits are stress management, improving physical conditions, and emotional balance. Studies have shown that dog owners tend to lead healthier lives.
Stress is the modern-day silent killer. When people are habitually stressed, they stay in a state of dis-ease, where harmful chemicals such as cortisol can compromise the immune system. Walking and doing enjoyable activities, on the other hand, release neurotransmitters like serotonin which bring about relaxation.
With a dog, especially in an urban environment, dog owners get off the couch more to walk their dogs. My dogs are like my alarm clock. A gentle lick or a paw – what a great way to wake up!
Walking has amazing benefits. Not only does it combat stress and anxiety, movement helps us with rhythm, bringing ease. Walking helps increase lymph flow, thereby helping the lymphatic system to eliminate toxins. It’s been shown to reduce blood pressure, the risk of heart disease, and cholesterol.
Just getting away from the computer, touching the earth, and moving helps us get out of our heads and any problems we’re mulling over. It’s a great way to take a break, and get a different perspective. Often we are reminded of what is important when we are out walking our dogs, talking to them, enjoying the moment. And the social aspect of meeting other people on our walks is a bonus.
Touching, stroking, petting your dog is fantastic for emotional health. This action releases endorphins which help us feel good. Most dogs love to be petted and if they are anything like Creamy, they start to wag their tails and roll on their backs and do all sort of funny things. You just can’t help but smile and laugh and play. Quite quickly you forget your troubles.
Less Obvious Benefits?
By now most people have probably heard what that amazing nose can do. Dogs are able to sniff out cancer cells and they are able to sense an oncoming seizure. Dogs can be trained as seizure alert dogs but untrained dogs can also help by providing emotional support during an attack or if we learn to pay attention, we probably see that our dog can alert us to many things in life.
I have heard so many stories of animals, like dogs, who take on their owner’s illnesses. Because they are so close to us, dogs pick up on our emotions and stress. Not only do they take the cue and comfort us when we need it but some actually take on the health condition, whether it’s a tumour, hypothyroidism, heart disease or cancer. Some do transition from the illness but not all.
I believe that animals don’t come into our lives by accident. Many go through different homes, waiting to connect with us somehow. When we adopt a dog, we save them from becoming a statistic but so often it’s preventing us from becoming one as well- % of depressed, % of obese, % of heart attacks, etc etc.
In the process we learn about ourselves, discover our strengths and even our calling in life. We learn that we can be more. All of us have our hearts healed more completely and open us to receive wondrous gifts and live the life we really are meant to.
I have had a lot of dogs come into my life and with each, I traveled down a little further on the journey of self-discovery. Blackspot is the one who really set me on this path. With her exuberant and strong character, it was a rocky start. Through training, I learned more than practical skills like basic training. I became more comfortable in my own skin around others. More and more I learned to speak my truth. I pay more attention to signals my body sends because we mostly communicate nonverbally with our dogs. This is only the tip of the iceberg that is the amazing relationship I have with my dogs and myself. Blackspot rescued me and walk alongside me in a life of awareness.
How did your dog save you?