dogs and depression(28 Posts)
this has probably been run by a million times before, if so, I'm sorry.
I've been thinking that I'd like to get a dog for many years, but now I'm in the position where I actually physically could as I've got a tenancy where they are allowed.
At home there is myself and 3 kids- 9,8 and 6. The 8 year old has been, for as long as he could talk, requesting a dog/a pet. They have experience of dogs through exH parents having them etc. ExH currently has cats. They don't want cats which is fortunate as I am allergic to them.
The main prompt for me though is that I am wondering whether a dog would be good company for me, and vice versa. I hate it when the kids are at their dads, and I find that time really difficult. I'm thinking a dog might keep me in a routine, and force me to leave the house. I'm up for lots of exercise as I usually run (but injured at present). The fact that all the children, particularly the middle one, seem keen on having a dog, is further encouragement. I'm not able to work at present due to depression, but I am fully aware that if we get a dog it will need either doggy daycare or someone to pop in for a walk whenever I return to part time working- nothing in the pipeline at present. Our holidays tend to be camping…so dog friendly etc.
I'm a bit put off having other pets such as rabbits, hamsters etc as it seems a bit unnatural (I'm a bit of an animal rights person) whereas dogs seem a bit more bred to be with humans.
Please, tell me why I should not get a dog. Or tell me what I should do…I had always assumed I'd get a rescue dog (ex's parents always had rescue dogs and they were all all lovely) but the local rescue places all say no kids under 10. I don't know where to even start with regards puppies as I've heard so many horrible stories about puppy farms.
I think a dog would be lovely for you - definitely great for getting out out in any weather, and fresh air always benefits the soul.
It's such a shame that rescues often don't give dogs to people with young children, I know they have to be careful but dogs can be fantastic for kids - we inherited our current dog from deceased FIL when dc2 was four years old, and he is the nicest dog in the world, great temperament. You can't expect kids to keep upthe looking after and walking, but they do enjoy having him around if you're willing to do most of the work.
Sorry! Missed the point of your question! Yes to a dog, try other rescues for a child friendly news.
You are an absolutely ideal dog owner. YY having a dog around soothes the soul!
When I'm not being a professional dogwalker I help with this lot - www.facebook.com/BlackRetrieverXRescue/
We take every dog and every potential new home on their own merits, no automatic 'no young children' here.
I think you would be a good dog owner too.
I have bipolar disorder and we got our first dog for me. He totally changed my life. No matter how awful I felt I couldn't be cruel to him, so I got out of bed to feed, walk and play with him. Twice daily trips to the park meant that I met people, everyone I currently know, I know because of our dogs. I am no longer isolated, I have a social life and friends because of dogs.
Getting a dog (we are now on our 3rd) was one of the best decisions we have ever made. Thats not to say its been easy because it hasn't but my life is better for them.
My greyhound makes me very happy. He's so gentle and graceful and affectionate. Loves to be cuddled but doesn't pester. Very good with children. Brilliant company for me when I am working from home but happy to be on his own for a few hours. They are a very calm snoozy breed 😊
I got him here: wkretiredgreyhounds.blogspot.co.uk/?m=1
They're very lovely, very practical, careful to introduce the right dog to you, no under 10s rule.
I don't work due too MH problems. I love my dog when I want too shut myself away I can't because that would be cruel.
I have two DD's 3 and 10. I have a staffy cross she's a right cowbag but fab with the kids and I love her.
I personally would not get a puppy unless I intended to make training a proper project. Puppies are adorable but the work is not to be underestimated. So many lovely adult dogs are rehomed through no fault of their own, there's no shortage of suitable dogs.
I echo all the others who said get an older dog not a puppy. I really don't think that would be helpful, they are so much work and worry! Look at smaller rescues who foster their dogs. Often much more flexible re. homing with younger children. How secure is your tenancy? So many dogs are rehomed when people can't find homes which accept dogs.
Join their FB groups if you can (much more updated than websites). You'll get a feel for them, how they react with any problems, backup provided etc. More popular/family dogs are often rehomed before getting on any website. Look for ones which are fostered in a home environment. Ones like these:
Black Retriever X
Four Paws Animal Rescue
Poodles in Need
Griffon Adoption UK
oh wow what a lot of useful information! I've been lucky enough (well ok we had to be properly homeless first) to get a council house, so tenancy is secure unless we screw it up- no chance of that! I'm so pleased to find out that there are rescues that are flexible as to ages of kids…I'd better get joining groups then
deadnettle and ire glad to hear dogs help with your problems...
Someone once said "anyone who has never owned a dog has missed out on one of the great pleasures in life" I forget who... Dogs are great, if you get the right one for you and love them like your children. I would recommend reading about all the different breeds and work out which type of dog will suit you and your family best. Even mongrels will be a 'type' like a terrier etc so do your homework. Some are naturally obedient, some stupid, some need loads of exercise etc. For me, I have whippets because they sleep in (later than me and that's saying something) they don't bark in the house, they barely shed and don't smell (I am not very tolerant of mess and I like to have them sleep in my bed) They love a long walk but on days when I feel really crappy they will snuggle up in bed with me all day and be really chill. I love them to distraction and they never shout at me ☺ I would be a lot more depressed without them. It takes time to really love a dog deeply, but once you do you will never let them go. Think about pet insurance, it might seem expensive but seriously once you love them you won't want to do without it because vets cost a fortune and you WILL need to go at some point. How often do you go the GP? Its the same for dogs but not free. Good luck finding your best friend and enjoy!
Forgot to say there have been trials where having a dog was found to be as effective as taking anti-depressants!
Wow OP, I don't think I've ever seen a thread before where everyone has been unanimous about someone being a suitable dog owner!
Good luck in finding a lovely dog
Oh and Cesar Milan the Dog Whisperer is great if you can't find a good local group, there are loads of YouTube or he has a website. Be pack leader, calm and assertive etc! Actually I find a lot of his stuff works really well on kids too! I'm definately a better parent since I learned how to be a good dog owner!
I said to my son today (watching our dog sit at the window looking at us leave) "I think no one will ever love you as much as a dog, possibly not even your mother"
Dogs are brilliant for making you sociable, walk, be regular, feel love, interact with other dog owners, just feel the enormous satisfying affection and devotion of a dog.
But that said, it is a HUGE responsibility. You need to be prepared to be home for much of the day, really think and plot days out and holidays, be prepared to clean up after them etc. And whatever your kids say, be prepared to do this on your own.
I generally say to people don't get a dog. But I absolutely love our dog and he has been a wonderful addition to our lives. But he did change my life (in terms of working from home versus working in the office etc). So think carefully but if you do it you will probably not regret it.
Someone once said "anyone who has never owned a dog has missed out on one of the great pleasures in life"
I would agree with this. So does DH who didn't get to experience it until he was mid 40s. He is a complete convert.
Getting a puppy or a naughty young dog can be a shock to the system ( a bit like pnd). So I would second the advice for an older dog.
Experiencing the unselfconscious love of a dog is one of life's great joys for you and your dc.
I hear Greyhound rehoming charities are less picky about homing dogs to families with young children.
They're not to everyone's taste but mine is a very calm, soothing dog (when he's not stealing food ). He also doesn't climb the walls if he misses a walk here and there.
Go for it, owning a dog provides much needed structure and they provide a lot of loyalty and love.
We have two adult greyhounds, got them separately, one aged 4.5 and one aged 3 when we got them. The charity are fine about rehoming with children but will do home checks.
They are beautiful pets, very sedate and calming. They don't need tonnes of exercise and LOVE cuddles. One of ours is sleeping downstairs on the sofa at the moment and the other is cuddled between us, fast asleep.
Plus, they don't smell 'like dogs' and don't lose much hair. Win-win!
You sound like a great person for a dog!
But please, when you get one, don't go for Ceser Milan and his "pack theory" traning methods. Look for a local training club which uses positive methods. I take both our dogs, they love it. Sometimes my dgd "works" one of the dogs. There are often people with rescue dogs, if they have DC as well then it's a good idea for them to go too. It's not expensive, ours is £6 for an hour.
There was a series on tv recently about finding the right puppy. It shocked me with its assessment of the costs of doc ownership which were around £300 a month for a medium sized dog.
This is the main reason I have not got a dog at the moment! I do love the Dog Whisperer and don't get why some people think Cesar's methods are wrong?
Dogs are great for walks and sofa cuddles. There are lots of pros.
For balance, here are some cons:
-Cost - you will have food costs, treats, vets bills, vaccinations, deworming, flea treatment, grooming, training classes (essential imo), leads, bed (will need replacing every so often).
-Behaviour issues - if you don't research the best breed for you, also if the dog hasn't been socialised well
-Maintainance - dogs make messes - poo clean ups, chewing stuff and scratching stuff
-Holidays will work if you have the right breed for you. Butsometimes you won't be able to take them and need to factor in a dog sitter/kennels for these occasions
Go into it with your eyes open, research the right breed, meet the dog and think about their personality. Dogs are brilliant but you have to be matched well and also will have to make adjustments to accommodate dog needs in your life.
Pack theory is out of favour because of the following:
A. It's based on wolf behaviour - but dogs aren't wolves.
B. It's based on dysfunctional wolf behaviour. Pack theory was formulated before wolves could be easily studied in the wild, so it draws on the behaviour of captive wolves. However, because wild wolf behaviour was poorly understood, these wolves were not being kept in natural environments. A zoo would assemble a 'pack' of unrelated wolves rather than a family group (which is what a pack generally is), and what's more, the fact that the wolves were trapped in an enclosed environment meant that they couldn't escape conflicts. So a lot of the behaviour pack theorists will tell you is 'dominance' or 'submission' is actually the behaviour of hyper-stressed animals of a totally different species to the one we're trying to apply it to.
Anyway. OP, I think you could give a dog a wonderful home. Go for it!
Echoing everyone else on here. Get a dog! My DCs absolutely adore her and miss her more than me when they're at uni.
Having to go outside everyday is fab too - even when it's blowing a storm - I ALWAYS feel better afterwards. But you'll know that anyway as a runner.
I have a cocker spaniel - they are great family pets, but then so are most of the dogs in Dogs Trust or similar rehoming centres.
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