“Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever.” – Karen Davison
Similar to the starfish parable, animal rescue work can feel daunting. There are so many animals in need, knowing where to begin seems impossible at times. This quote from Karen Davison is a reminder that while rescuing one animal may “not change the world”, for the animal you rescue it matters and drastically changes their future.
My two dogs, Zadie and Scooby Doo (lovingly called Nana and Boo) are both rescues. When I lived in Pennsylvania I spent a few years volunteering at an animal rescue that helped place dogs, cats, and even livestock. All of the dogs that came through this rescue were pulled from high-kill shelters in southern states. When Boo was adopted he was about a year and a half old, and Nana was about 8 months. Considering they had been placed in high-kill shelters is upsetting to even think of. If you have a chance to meet them, I’m sure you’ll think the same.
Yes, Boo has his quirks, like his love of munching on a good bra strap. Yet, he is incredibly smart, athletic and loves a good cuddle. Nana is one of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever met. She’s my shadow and follows me everywhere; it doesn’t hurt that she has a really cute underbite too! Having adopted these two adventure buddies has changed the trajectory of their lives and mine too.
Since adopting these two, there have been a few changes in my personal life that were major stressors. Nana and Boo forced me to get up and get outside on days when I had little motivation to do so. If I felt sad or anxious they seemed to know and were happy to cuddle with me, or bring me a toy. They gave me responsibility and normalcy, which helped keep me grounded even when the changes felt overwhelming. If you’re reading this and thinking it’s a bit “woo-woo”, then I’m glad to let you know there’s scientific research proving the benefits of animal companionship.
Anthrozoology, the study of the interaction between humans and other animals, has been growing over the last 35 years. Controlled research in this discipline has proved that owning a pet can:
- Buffer stress
- Lower heart rate
- Lower blood pressure
- Give social support
- Help you stay in shape
- Prevent certain sicknesses
With so many health benefits, if welcoming an animal into your family is an option for you, I would strongly encourage you to consider adoption. Adopting an adventure buddy benefits the animal you adopt, and you will get so many benefits in return.
If you’re interested in learning more about adopting a new adventure buddy for your family, stop by the Upper Valley Human Society ‘s space during this year’s Lyme Health & Wellness Fair on Saturday, September 30th from 10am – 2pm. Who knows? Your newest adventure buddy might be waiting for you as you’re reading this!
Solch, Kristina. “Health Benefits of Pet Ownership.” Health Benefits of Pet Ownership | OSU Veterinary Medical Center, vet.osu.edu/vmc/companion/owner-information/health-benefits-pet-ownership. Accessed 20 Sept. 2023.
Every Wednesday, CommunityCare of Lyme lifts up a wellness topic, embracing the widest possible definition of individual and community well-being. We include local and national resources, individual and group programs and practices, and personal stories, videos, or songs that have something to teach us all. We are always seeking guest contributors!
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