Back in 2009, I was in a pretty bad place.
My boyfriend at the time had up and left me. I was just starting a new job. And I had recently moved into a 400-square-foot studio in Hawaii Kai that felt like it was on the other side of the planet.
So what did I do?
I got a dog.
Well, it didn’t happen exactly like that.
I had been talking about getting a dog before, but the place my boyfriend and I had been renting didn’t allow pets. So it really wasn’t an option. But when I had moved into the studio in Hawaii Kai, it was OK for me to have a pet, so I started looking around. Not seriously, just looking.
Then I saw her.
My friend had called, saying there was a little Pomeranian-toy fox terrier mix at a local pet store. All of her siblings had been adopted; she was still there — and had been for months. One of the workers had felt bad for her and was going to take her home since no one else wanted her.
But I did.
I went down to the pet store and, after she licked my nose while I cradled her in my arms, I knew I had to take her home.
I named her Sunny.
She was the sunshine in my life, exactly what I needed to pull out of the despair in which I had been sinking. I now had a reason to get up every morning, someone to make the little studio feel more homey. I started taking her to the Hawaii Kai Dog Park every afternoon, met a whole new group of friends — all of whom shared my love for dogs — and felt I had a purpose in life again.
Sunny saved me.
Of course, now I have two dogs — we added Indy to the family in 2010 — and life couldn’t be better. Sure, it’s more work taking care of two dogs. I can’t stay out late — need to walk the dogs — and I spend a lot of money on their vet visits, heartworm and flea medicines, grooming, kennel costs and high-quality food. But it’s been so worth it, especially for my mental well-being.
And I’m not alone.
Turns out, dog owners tend to be healthier — mentally and physically — than the average person.
Not only can dogs do amazing things like sniff out cancerous growths and detect low blood sugar levels, but they can act as “social catalysts,” helping people overcome feelings of loneliness and sadness, and force us to lead more healthful lifestyles.
Several studies have shown that dog owners have healthier statistics for several cardiovascular criteria, including blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels than non-owners. Additionally, studies have shown that heart attack sufferers who have pets have longer survival rates than those who don’t.
Good dog owners walk their dogs, and that’s exercise they might never have gotten without their canine companions. (I walk my dogs at least two miles a day, and we go on hikes just about every weekend.) And most owners tend to socialize with other dog owners, thereby improving or enhancing their social life. Even on walks, we meet folks who live in our neighborhoods.
I have to say, as much as I may complain about my dogs — Indy is obsessed with his ball and won’t let me sleep sometimes; Sunny can be aloof and bitchy — I couldn’t imagine my life without them. They are the reason I come home every night, the reason I get out of bed every morning, the reason I buy baby carrots and rawhide sticks.
If only they could cook and clean…
Better to name her Sunny than Bitchy. 😆
Couldn’t agree with your more! The emotions fulfillment they add to one’s life is unimaginable!!!
Before I had my baby my dog was my baby and now still is. He get along well with my daughter and see him also now got a daughter of his own with mating.
Great story. My reason to come home, to get up early for walks, and to buy schmackos…is called Buster.
That’s a nice story. I have 2 Chihuahua mix dogs and they have filled a similar gap in my life too! I’m bad about walking them because I have a big yard that they can run around in but your pics of walks and hikes with your dogs encourage me.
My son and I found this adorable puppy at the SPCA with black fur and four white feet. My son calls her Sox… I call her dog breath because if the shoe fits…
Non dog owners don’t get it. Their loss.
I have a dog and cat and I wouldn’t part with them, it’s part of my family.
Great blog! I lost the love of my life two years ago and the memories still lingers till today. He brought great joy to my life after my divorce. I’m waiting for retirement before heading down to the Humane Society. There is a whole in my heart that needs filling!
Whole? Wow, more fat fingers.
Hey Cat … I miss having a dog around … have thought about getting another one in my life … but I know it’s a real commitment!!! … but yeah, it’s so worth it …
… and I totally get where you’re coming from …
… a dog is like your ultimate best friend … they’re always happy to see you … they’ll go whereever you want to go … they look out for you … but yeah, they’re not perfect … sometimes they need too much attention … and they can’t talk to you … but then again, they won’t talk back to you …
Two cats, Jiro and Koji are our family members. They are irreplaceable and provide us with so much joy.
My wife passed away 14 months ago after six years of caregiving. Feeling bereft, a little while later, I got Hoku, a 20-pound terrier mix and she and I have been an item ever since. I call her a Butler Terrier just for fun. Incidentally, Your ex-boy friend must be nuts.