I have always grown up with dogs, but my husband had a much different upbringing. He has never been a big fan of pets and certainly not dogs. We had always agreed that we wouldn’t get a pet dog until we got a house, much to my dismay. But a few weeks ago, he told me that he felt it was time to get a dog. At first, I was I didn’t believe what he said. I tried to ignore it and pretend he didn’t bring it up, but after a couple of hours, I decided to check. The crazy thing was that he was serious. He really was wanting to get a dog. I set straight to work researching local rescues and finding the perfect dog for us. That is when I came upon Doug-Doug the Pug. He was the most adorable pug mix and I knew that he was meant just for us. I couldn’t believe I had to wait all week just to go meet this little guy. I was anxiously waiting all week until Saturday came. When we went to go meet him, it was love. He was ours and definitely coming home with us.
We renamed Doug to Winston and got him a dapper looking bow tie collar. We did all our doggy parent duties of taking him to the vet, bathing him, going on a doggy shopping spree for all of his wants and needs and brought him home. Having Winston these past few weeks has made me wonder why we ever waited so long to add a little companion to our family.
Having Winston around has helped me in school in a few ways that I didn’t expect. Sure-I spend a lot of time petting him instead of getting my reading done as early. And now I have to walk him up and down the stairs several times a day instead of automatically getting into my PJs when I get home from work. However much of a time sucker those things have seemed, they have actually helped me to create healthy habits that have enhanced my academic life.
Each day I take Winston out on a couple of walks. These walks have served a few purposes in helping me become a better student. The first thing they have done is ensure that I am getting exercise and fresh air. It is easy to come home from work and get right to homework and not emerge until dinner and sleeping time. Having Winston has made me create a habit of getting out and walking. Sometimes we go for just a few minutes and sometimes we soak up the sun and beautiful weather and take long walks or runs. These walks help me to take a break and just relax. They allow my mind and body time to be focused on something other than homework.
Another thing Winston has helped me to do is to take a break from homework and devices. Whenever I need a break, Winston is begging just to be pet. He doesn’t like to be pet while I am surfing the web on my phone, but wants my full attention and will knock the phone or remote out of my hand. This has helped me to unplug and really take a break from all of the stress and things competing for my time. Sometimes sitting on the couch and petting my dogs is the best thing for me mentally, physically and emotionally.
I always knew I wanted a dog but I never considered the benefits outside of having a cute companion and a cuddly friend. By caring for this pet, I have started to form some more healthy habits for myself mentally and physically. I can’t imagine our lives without Winston and will be sure to give him a big thank you for his part in helping when I graduate next year.
India is Masters student in the Department of Educational Psychology's Creativity and Cognition Online Program.