How can dogs improve our mental health and wellbeing? Picture this… You’re walking in the park with a coffee in hand, you look ahead and you see a floofster of a dog running to catch the ball his owner has just thrown; care free and happy, tongue out and tail wagging with joy. Feel better? Smiling yet? You probably are. It’s proven that dogs (and pets in general) help to improve our mental health and wellbeing. They are comforting and loving and provide a great source of motivation to get us outdoors and moving. Part of our mission at Hope Rescue is to help promote the therapeutic benefits of pet ownership and interaction with dogs. Here are some helpful things to consider this: Walking your dog every day increases your physical activity, meaning you’re moving your body in a fun way that counts as exercise. Walking, visiting, feeding your/a dog helps build routine, which often helps us to feel better about the way we use our time and creates a sense of purpose. Dogs are wonderful companions. Caring for them can help you to feel seen and reduces feelings of loneliness and isolation. Petting dogs and spending time around them can help reduce anxiety. Dogs are very sociable creatures who’ll happily approach new people and other dogs on a walk. They can help you meet new people if you’re up for a quick chat in the park. If you take your dog to train classes or groups you’ll also meet other dog owners and potentially make new friends of your own. Furry friends count too! Dogs can also provide therapeutic benefits to children and people who’ve been diagnosed with conditions such as ADHD and autism. Dogs have a calming effect and can build confidence and reassurance in a child or person with a specific condition like this. Of course, it’s important to remember that dogs/pets are a serious commitment and any decision to take on a dog/pet must be thoroughly thought through. Dogs in particular need a lot of time and patience and can sometimes cost a lot of money, especially if they should ever need treatment or veterinary care. If owning a dog of your own is too much of a commitment right now, you could consider signing up as a dog foster carer or a dog walker with us. You can find out more about fostering and volunteering with Hope Rescue. If you feel ready to take it one step further and want to look into adopting a dog with Hope, click here.