***** After a summer hiatus, Picture This Photo Contest will be returning in September with a great judge. Keep a look out!! Would you mind taking a moment to go onto Picture This’ Facebook page and ‘like it’? Thanks….Fran
A few weeks ago, Dogs Provide Owners Greater Mental Well-Being, an article in the Living Section of The Wall Street Journal, caught my attention.
Although the majority of dog owners would agree that they love their dog without a blink of the eye, I’ve heard non-believers say everything from ‘Why would you want a dog….they’re such a responsibility and make a mess’ to ‘Well, I guess they’re’ worth it if you have kids.’
A new study has come to the conclusion that dogs do have a positive impact on their owners.
Here are the results.
Pet owners enjoyed greater well-being compared to the non-owners; they were less fearful and obsessive.
Dog owners were less depressed, lonely, had higher self-esteem, were happier, and tended to experience less perceived stress when they relied on their dog for social fulfillment.
For dog owners, thinking about pets was as effective as thinking about friends in staving off the stress of loneliness
As a dog owner of 3, I can attest to the power of these little four legged beings. Although I didn’t live with a dog until I was 30 something (it was my daughter’s), today I can’t imagine being without them.
.Molly was sold to me first because she was the runt of the litter. The breeders from Arizona, 2 brothers, who owned both Sassey and Molly, called me when Sassey was being put out to pasture 6 months after I got Molly. She was no longer show dog material. Of course, I had her sent to me. How could I not? She was Molly’s sister after all.
And finally, after my mother died, I bought Jacob, who is related to Molly and Sassey and is rambunctious to put it mildly, to help ease my father out of his mourning. He succeeded at doing that….and much more!
Photos of dogs in order: Molly, Sassey, Jacob
Although my book, Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening, along with some other books and articles, discuss how the act of gardening has the potential of giving meaning to an individual’s life, I began to wonder if the larger gardening community shares these feelings. And are there any studies that statistically show the broader, social benefits of gardening on the mental health of humans? (similar to the one done on dogs).
I can only speak for myself….. I have a relationship with my plants. I nurture them and they nurture me. When I’m lonely or sad, I work in my garden. When I’m ebullient and full of joy, I often go to the garden; sometimes just to experience a sense of spirituality. And these friends of mine are always there for me, regardless of my emotions.
When I sold my house a couple of years ago, I was surprised at how easy it was to lock it up, leave the key under the mat, and bid adieu. When I walked through my garden for one last time though, I tried to hold back my tears when I said good bye. Crazy as it may sound, I silently talked with the plants about how they would always be with me, how I knew they were strong, and even told some of them to take care of the weaker ones. Did they feel my emotions? My heart tells me yes.
In my new rooftop garden, I have a budding relationship with my plants. Each morning when I go out to water, deadhead, and putter around, I say ‘Good Morning guys. How are you?’ Think I’m a bit eccentric? Perhaps. But I can only attest to the fact that gardening and dogs are a significant part of the happiness and ‘soulfulness’ in my life.
How about you?