Today marks one month since we got little Arlo. He’s perfect, basically. He enjoys sniffing everything, taking forever to eat, chewing on socks, and peeing on every tree in the world.
Before I got Arlo, I just wanted a dog. Every time I saw one I would get that warm, fuzzy feeling inside; all the cliches that you can think of. But more than just a happy feeling, I also felt incredibly less stressed.
Last summer I began taking anxiety medication. I grew up thinking that medication was bad and messes with your system, causing more problems than its worth. I barely took aspirin when I had a headache. But the past couple years have been rough, and I’d been having panic attacks every day right before I started the medication. I knew I needed more help than counseling could give me.
My college brought in five or so therapy dogs last semester during finals week and allowed students to sit and pet them for a couple hours. I walked up to the first dog I saw–an Australian Shepherd–and immediately felt a wave of relief. How was it that dogs could have that effect on humans?
Here’s an example of some great therapy dogs:
My desire to have a dog turned into a need. I contacted one of my friends who helps run a kennel in the Chicago area, and she kept an eye out for any dogs coming in from off the streets. There were a couple times there was a dog available but it fell through because of a number of little reasons, including my location, which is about three hours away from the kennel.
But one night I got a message from my friend. She sent a two pictures of two different dogs, and one of them was Arlo. I immediately fell in love with him. After a few days of waiting and biting my nails, he was home.
Let me tell you how life has been different since Arlo came along. For one thing, I am bombarded with love every time I walk through the door. It doesn’t matter how awful of a day I’ve had; once I see that little guy running towards me, joy immediately takes over. When I’m feeling stressed about a project or a big decision or money, all I have to do is reach over and pet my little guy. He’s more than just a companion; he’s therapy.
Never underestimate the power of a pup, or any furry friend. Hopefully we have many in our household!