Anybody who has a pet dog will understand how valuable and how loyal these wonderful creatures are. Just think about all the stories of those dogs that do not want to part with their owners, even at their owners’ deathbeds. There are also many inspiring stories about dogs who saved their owners’ lives, even if that meant giving up their own lives.
There is no doubt that dogs are heartwarming creatures who often remain loyal to their owners against all odds. It is for this special reason that getting a dog after going to the best rehab could be a good decision.
Having a dog can provide a constant, loyal companion. Having a dog in your life can also help you experience unconditional love and acceptance that you might not receive from people who you consider to be your family or friends.
Here are five more reasons why having a dog can help you in your sobriety journey:
Reason No. 1: Dogs can provide constant sober companionship
After leaving rehab, you will have to deal with the day-to-day struggle to keep your sobriety. Since you are far from the familiar and supportive environment of your rehab, you might find it overwhelming to do things on your own. You might find it difficult to stay sober and may worry that external triggers and circumstances could lead you to relapse.
With a dog by your side, you may feel less lonely and less overwhelmed because you have a companion to help you with your sobriety. You can do fun activities together. You can make new memories without using addictive substances. With a dog by your side, you always have a plus one wherever you go.
Reason No. 2: Dogs can provide unconditional love
Love, compassion, and support are three tools that can help recovering individuals who have just left rehab, and help them in their successful recovery. Not all people can provide such support, but maybe dogs can. Pet dogs will not judge people for their pasts. Dogs will not be disappointed if people relapse from their sobriety. They will remain by people’s sides regardless of their actions and in spite of their vulnerability.
Experiencing this love from dogs may improve people’s capacity to forgive themselves. They may start to see that they still deserve love and care. Dogs can look beyond people’s pasts and strengthen their self-compassion and self-acceptance. If they nurture these positive feelings throughout their recovery journeys, people might have an easier time maintaining their sobriety for a lifetime.
Reason No. 3: Dogs can help improve communication and relationship skills
Studies have found that animal therapy, allowing patients and animals to interact, can be a valuable tool to treat a variety of conditions, such as substance abuse. Therapy can improve patients’ relationships, interactions, and communication. Patients who were exposed to dogs and interacted with them became more comfortable interacting through nonverbal and verbal communications. As a result of this therapy, recovering addicts found it easier to reintegrate into society.
Aside from improved communication and interaction, living with dogs allows people to mingle with other people and share their interests. For recovering addicts, mingling with new people may not be easy, but with the help of dogs, they can start building networks of new friends and people who can help keep them sober.
Reason No. 4: Dogs are eager exercise buddies
Exercise can restore neurochemicals such as endorphins that have been adversely affected by addiction. If people start new exercise routines and maintain healthy lifestyles, they may restore what addiction took from their lives.
With dogs by their sides, people can easily become more motivated to go for hikes or runs or even join yoga sessions. If they have companions who support them and always accompany them, it may be easier to stay motivated.
They can take their dogs for early morning jogs or for light walks after dinner. In the end, spending time with animals can create win-win situations. Such companionship allows people to enjoy themselves while maintaining their sobriety.
Reason 5: Dogs teach responsibility
It is often easy for people to be careless because they have nobody to check on them or they are not responsible for anyone else. Since they only have to worry about themselves, they may not care if they live another day or even if they are happy. This mindset may compel people to use drugs or participate in life-threatening situations.
If people have dogs, they have somebody to look after and the responsibility of care. Their dogs rely on them, so they have more reason to be responsible and sober. Dogs can also help people relearn the value of dependability and reliability. Owners may have to go home early from parties because their dogs are waiting at home or they might be hungry. Also, pet ownership keeps the owners busy since they have to spend time looking after their pets. It may help owners forget their pasts and avoid their addictions.
These are just a few reasons people should consider adopting a dog after going to rehab. Dogs give without asking for something in return. They are willing to give their lives to us. They rely on us even if we think we are not dependable. They love and accept us even if we feel we are not worthy. With all of the benefits of dog ownership, it is no wonder why dogs are often considered a man’s best friend.
About the author:
Charles Watson is the head research writer for Sunshine Behavioral Health, and leader in mental and addiction rehab. He can be reached directly on Twitter at @charleswatson00, or at https://sunshinebehavioralhealth.com.