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Canine Companions: How Dogs Can Provide Emotional Support and Improve Mental Health

Maddy (Madelynn) Boyas
Starr on the left and Yoda on the right

Do you come home to your excited dog after a long day of work or school? Did you know that dogs have impacted people’s lives in many ways? They have been a huge part of humans’ lives for many years, from guarding against predators to hunting partners. They help relieve stress, anxiety, and depression and provide comfort and unconditional love to their owners. “According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), an emotional support animal is any animal that provides emotional support alleviating one or more symptoms or effects of a person’s disability”  (American Disabilities Act). This explains how dogs can be emotional support and comfort those who need it. 

Another way dogs have impacted people’s lives is by being therapy dogs which one might think is the same as an emotional support dog but isn’t . . Canine Companions distinguishes the differences between them: “Therapy dogs are pets that have been certified to visit and provide comfort and joy to people who need it. Therapy dogs aren’t allowed in public places, except where they are providing pet therapy. Emotional support animals are pets that help people with disabling mental health disorders feel comforted and calm” (Canine Companions). In addition to performing these important roles, there is also scientific research on the bond between humans and dogs. In fact, “dog owners have long known about the strong human-canine bond between them and their furry friends. For as long as there has been dog domestication, humans have felt a strong connection with their dogs. In fact, eye contact with your dog can create the same emotional feedback loop seen between a mother and her children, including introducing high levels of oxytocin”  (Animals Matter). In summary, dogs have a significant impact on our mental health. They provide emotional support, reduce stress and anxiety, and encourage us to be more active and social. Therefore, If you’re looking for a furry friend to improve your mental well-being, adopting a dog may be a great option for you.

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About the Contributor
Maddy (Madelynn) Boyas
Maddy (Madelynn) Boyas, Writer and Editor
Maddy Boyas, a junior at Wauconda High School. She enjoys making bracelets, hanging around with her dog, listening to music, and writing stories. “I like to make bracelets, hang with my dog, listen to music, and write stories”. During her winter break, she mostly just chilled and got to hang out with her family from Oklahoma. “I got to hang out with family from Oklahoma” She explained. She is fun to be around. She also mentioned she likes the color rose gold. “I like rose gold. Maddy is a very fun and nice person to be around.  
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