Are dogs better than Prozac?
I’ve often said (and I quote myself), “if more people had puppies, they wouldn’t need Prozac”. I am no doctor (but I have dreamed about playing one on TV) nor am I a shrink or certified therapist. I am just a recovered (ok, ing) depressed chick here to share my thoughts about how my dog helped me beat the blues.
I am NOT telling ya’ll to flush your meds in the toilet! But…my dog was a better elixir to what ailed me than any pill I ever took, especially Prozac.
Over a 15 year span I ingested a slew of anti-depressants, visited shrinks and therapists but it was my boxer dog, Rosie, who played a significant role in my transformation from a raging Sicilian beast with depression into a smiling Zen beauty. Of course, I can’t neglect to mention the shock therapy of Jim Thompson’s suicide was the wake-up call I needed not to take my own life.
What to the ‘experts’ say about pets…
Doctors and scientists will tell ya that interacting with a pet has shown to increase serotonin levels and decrease blood pressure. Simply petting your pooch will give your good hormones a boost! Dig that?!?
Rosie is the sweetest, cutest and most loving dog in the universe. I know that’s a REALLY big claim but it is the dog-gone truth (had to throw that in).
6 Ways My Dog Helped Me
Let me break it down the reasons for you, Janet Jackson style.
Simply, Rosie got me off butt, into a routine and kept me moving.
Unless you’ve got an enormous fenced in yard, a dog walker and kennel help (I have none of those) you’ve got to get off your bum and walk your dog. The depressed people I have met (including the old me) have the tendency to be sedentary, almost frozen or crippled in their thoughts. We park ourselves in our homes and generally speaking, avoid exercise and interaction with other humans.
I adore strolling, skipping and running about with Rosie. We enjoy the great outdoors, get fresh air and meet and interact with all kinds of people.
2. UNCONDITIONAL LOVE
She loves me – really loves me!
On days you don’t love yourself or on days you feel like “nobody loves me, I’m gonna eat a worm”, your dog will be there for you, unconditionally. Rosie’s no-strings-attached love for me warms my heart.
No matter how long I’m away, if it is 5 minutes, 5 hours or 5 days, Rosie loves me just the same. If I am sick, sad, walking around with mascara down my face, toilet paper on my shoe or my hair disheveled, dirty and in icky-knots, she still loves me. She is so cool like that!
Rosie was there for me after the proverbial poo hit the fan in October 2005. I was grief stricken and felt terribly alone and separated from other people.
The loneliness I felt was largely self-imposed but with Rosie by my side, at least I knew my canine companion was there for me 24/7. She is a great listener, a world class snuggle bunny (also, an enormous bed hog) and the best 4 legged buddy I could ever ask for. She is the peanut butter to my jelly and the frosted to my flakes.
When you have a dog you cannot sleep in all day long, mope and dope about and kick turds. Your pet depends upon you for e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. Their potty break or meal time won’t wait! For depressed people, getting into a routine is extremely important. Feeling needed is also critical, even if it is simply from your pet.
5. STRESS REDUCTION
Here’s the scenario: your internet connection goes dead, the computer freezes and to add insult to injury, your hard drive dies.
Your blood pressure shoots through the drywall ceiling at the speed of light and you start to freak and scream 4 letter words like a seasoned trucker. You stop yourself short of a full blown hissy fit because your sweet pup comes over to you, cocks her head as if to say “What’s Wrong Mom?” and proceeds to offer her support in the only way she knows how: a big old face lick and the chance to scratch her butt. It works. Your blood pressure cools, you start to smile and realize the death of your PC is not the end of the world.
6. MOOD BOOSTER
Boxer dogs are known comedians in the dog world and Rosie is no exception. She is my personal furry mood stabilizer (with no side effects) and a floppy eared comedian (with no cover charge, unless you count dog food, vet bills and flea-n-tick medication).
How can you avoid smiling at a puppy? Answer: You can’t, unless of course you are not human or the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, pre-CLH (Cindy Loo Hoo).
Even though owning a dog involves responsibility, commitment and at times, work, my pawed sweetheart helps reduce stress in my life, gives me a purpose to get out of bed in the morning generally, my little Rose petal brings a lot of love, laughter and joy into my life.
I wouldn’t trade my puppy for anything in the world. She is my family and my bright shining star.
Ri Ruv Roo Ro (translation: I love you Rosie), Mom