a cute furry dog casts a shadow in the shape of a heart

Positive Health Effects of Having a New Member of Our Family

My life as a cancer survivor has focused on living each day to the fullest and enjoying all possible wishes on my bucket list. I recently had an opportunity to recognize the most important caretaker in my life, who provided love and support during my chemotherapy and cancer journey. I owe my life to this generous, loving, and supportive man, my husband.

I now decided to fulfill one of his longtime wishes. For his birthday, I found a saint bernard puppy, as he always wanted one. He was so excited. It made me happy that I could recognize his unselfishness and care during my illness.

Our new family member Cooper, our puppy, has enriched our lives. He provides companionship and helps us become more active.

Our new puppy, Cooper.

The health benefits of having a pet

Research has shown many health benefits of owning a dog. The findings reviewed by the American Heart Association suggests that dog owners are more likely to exercise. This is certainly true as we walk Cooper numerous times during the day and evening. Additionally, owners are reported to have better cholesterol levels.1

Interacting with animals or pets can decrease levels of stress and lower blood pressure. The calming result or “pet effect” has shown that blood pressure goes down when a person pets a dog.2

It is reported that dog owners are less prone to anxiety, loneliness, and depression. Walking and caring for a dog encourages one to be present in the moment. My husband and I spend time together walking Cooper, enjoying the fresh air, fragrance of flowers, and appreciating life. We have also met more people as we walk our puppy and speak with other dog owners.

Feeling grateful for my husband and Cooper

I still experience scanxiety in anticipation of my next CT scan and I pray that Cooper will help me handle it with less anxiety. It is heartwarming to see how my husband enjoys the company of our puppy. I am so grateful that this puppy is a small token of appreciation for the critical role that my caregiver husband made in my cancer journey.

A cancer survivor needs to identify strategies to enhance one’s wellbeing. I have found owning a puppy as a new member of my family has many benefits in improving our health, keeping us fit and active, reducing stress, and promoting togetherness. Additionally, it has provided me an opportunity to show appreciation to my caregiver, who has forever changed my life.

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