Break out the rawhide, kibble and doggy biscuits! It’s time to celebrate man’s (and woman’s … it’s 2021, for Pete’s sake) best friend. August 26 is National Dog Day. With so many dogs living in shelters around the world, the National Dog Day Foundation encourages dog owners to spread the love by encouraging anyone looking to expand his or family to “Adopt Not Shop,” meaning to look for the dog itself … not the breed. Every pet adopted from an overcrowded facility puts the foundation one step closer to reaching its annual goal of rescuing 10,000 dogs each year. In addition to committed, unconditional companionship, our four-legged friends can also greatly improve our physical and mental wellbeing. According to the American Kennel Club, dog ownership has been associated with the following health benefits:

Reduced feelings of loneliness and isolation. In the year following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately 23 million American families dealt with the health crisis by welcoming a new pet (or in my case, two new pets) into their homes.

Improved heart health. A reduction in blood pressure, stress, anxiety and muscle tension all contribute to the boost in cardiovascular health.

Increased mobility and physical fitness. Walking, running, playing frisbee … this one is a no-brainer!

Greater opportunity for socialization with old and new friends. The dog park is a great place for you and your dog to make social connections. Many people report finding their significant others via their furry wingmen.

Better quality of life for senior citizens. By helping older caregivers to stay active and connected with their communities, pet ownership can have a significant impact on maintaining strong cognitive function as well as staving off depression and dementia.

by Michele Robert Poche

Southshore loves its furry friends!