How Kramer has Increased my Well-being…

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog! At the end of November I started back to work full-time again and that same week we adopted Kramer, our first dog, that crazy week turned into a few crazy weeks and then before I knew it, it was Christmas. Now to find a blogging rhythm again with so many ideas to write about!

I never thought I’d say this, but our little Kramer has been such a blessing for us. The first 10 days I thought we made a big mistake, if Matt had agreed I totally would have given him away. Sleepless nights and this new big responsibility was starting to get to me. What had I got myself into? I remember lying in bed at 3am unable to sleep thining up what the Kijiji ad would say about him… And the worst part was that it was me who had really pushed the idea of the dog, Matt was the hesitant one.

As I write this blog, the little guy is sleeping on my lap and I love it! I don’t think dogs are for everyone because they are a big responsibility but if you’re up for it, I highly recommend a furry friend. A friend of mine is a college psychology teacher and we were chatting the other day about the psychological benefits of dogs (they also have two dogs!) so I did a little research. Dogs actually lower your blood pressure, heart rate, relax you and reduce stress… And the positive psychological effects of dogs actually work faster than drugs taken for stress! This is what a Psychology Today blog said:

The strength of the human animal bond has been known for a long time, but scientific evidence about how it works was first published only about 30 years ago when a psychologist, Alan Beck of Purdue University, and a psychiatrist, Aaron Katcher of the University of Pennsylvania, actually measured what happens physically when a person pets a friendly and familiar dog. They found that the person’s blood pressure lowered, heart rate slowed, breathing became more regular and muscle tension relaxed-all of which are signs of reduced stress. Furthermore a study published recently in the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine not only confirmed these effects, but showed changes in blood chemistry demonstrating reduced amounts of stress related hormones. It is interesting to note that these positive psychological effects work a lot faster than many drugs taken for stress, since all of these effects occurred after only 5 to 24 minutes of pleasantly interacting with the dog.

      There is now a large amount of data confirming that pets are good for your psychological health and may increase, not only the quality of your life, but also your longevity. The benefits are not just short term but last well beyond the time that the pet is in the room, and the positive effects build up over time. One important study of 5,741 people was conducted in Melbourne, Australia. Researchers found the pet owners had lower levels of blood pressure and cholesterol than non-pet-owners, even when both groups had the same poor life styles involving smoking and high-fat diets.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/canine-corner/200906/the-health-and-psychological-benefits-bonding-pet-dog

So although it was a crazy few weeks and he is a new responsibility, Kramer has brought so much joy into our life! How could anyone resist this face?!

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