Young People and Canine Companions

Young People and Canine Companions

Many of us will have developed our love of dogs at a young age, often ignited by the furry friends of our childhood, with a lot of us cherishing memories of our first family pet. In my case, it was Molly, our family's Border Collie, a law unto herself, deeply loved, and still sorely missed. Molly, like subsequent canine companions, taught me profound lessons about canine companionship, marking the stages of my life and providing unwavering friendship throughout.

However, nothing quite prepared me for the responsibility of owning my first very own dog, Ginny - A crazy but sweet-hearted Rescue Lurcher. Suddenly, I found myself making every decision, navigating through endless pages of information, and questioning who to trust. Although I was involved in every area of my childhood dogs care, I still felt woefully unprepared. The journey of having a dog is undeniably one of the most rewarding experiences life has to offer. In the short time I have owned Ginny, I can't fathom what life was like before her. As a fellow dog lover, I'm certain you can relate to the incomparable joy our furry friends bring to our lives.

Owning a dog in your youth presents a unique set of challenges and rewards. Young individuals face a myriad of changes - friends venturing off to university, the stress of new careers, and the pursuit of independent lives. Amidst this chaos, the constancy and sense of home provided by my dog are unparalleled. It is also no secret that some of these challenges differ to when some of you may have been looking into owning your first dog. I know my mother, who has owned dogs for over 60 years, will never have had to consider if her dog needs it's own Instagram page!

Loneliness is a prevalent challenge for 40% of young people aged 16 to 26, yet it's heartening to know that 80% of pet owners find companionship in their furry friends. Dog ownership not only alleviates feelings of isolation but also opens doors to communities worldwide. In the age of digital connectivity, 1 in 4 pet owners has created social media accounts for their pets. For some, caring for their animals transcends a mere lifestyle choice; it becomes a livelihood. Social media accounts for pets can even provide income through advertising and affiliate schemes. The demand for dog-friendly workplaces has surged by 60%, with young professionals making career choices that allow them to bring their dogs to work or work from home to be with their cherished pooches.

Attending training classes with my new rescue has not only enhanced my dog's skills but also provided me with newfound confidence. These sessions, beyond being a platform for canine education, serve as a gathering of like-minded individuals. We share goals, interests, and form a tight-knit community that celebrates successes and empathises with setbacks.

Statistics reveal that dog owners find it easier to make friends, and even dating profiles featuring owners with their dogs have up to 75% more successful matches. Guilty as charged, I've employed the endearing appeal of our family dogs, Maisie and Ruby, to sweeten the deal and secure the paw of approval before settling down. After the success of the dating scene, 27% of young couples opt for a puppy instead of having a baby, citing reasons ranging from costs to career considerations and even wish to experience a puppy as a "trial run."

The joy of being greeted by a dog and the simple act of petting them have profound effects on our well-being. Studies show a reduction in the stress hormone cortisol and an increase in the feel-good hormone oxytocin. Dog owners are prompted to make healthier choices, ensuring their pets lead fulfilling lives. Daily walks, regardless of weather, not only benefit the body but also boost mental health, enhancing mood and reducing stress.

Canine ownership saw a massive increase during the pandemic, which I think is evidence enough that the loneliness and stress we all felt was somewhat remedied by our pooches.

Although dog ownership is sometimes frowned upon at a young age, it proves to be one of the best decisions many of us make. Beyond the companionship and unconditional love, dogs enhance our social lives, work ethic, personal motivation, and overall health. They give as much to us as we give to them - perhaps even more

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