If you are following me over on Instagram, you will often see the furry love of my life popping up on stories. Toby has become a bit of a minor celebrity with his rugged good looks and cheeky disposition. It really is true that dogs are great for wellbeing, he makes me smile every single day.
And as I am working with Agria Pet Insurance on their ‘Young At Heart’ campaign I thought it would be a great opportunity to share our pet ownership experience.
Our Boys Backstory.
Toby is 8 but I still call him my little puppy, because he is still as giddy and energetic as the day we first met him. He came to us at 18 months old after a pretty traumatic start to life, which included 3 owners, being deserted, starved and beaten. It still upsets me to think about what he went through. I consider it a miracle this little guy trusts humans. The pic below was how he looked when he was taken in at 12 months old!
As soon as I saw him on the RSPCA website it was love at first sight, but he had gone. However a couple of weeks later we got a phone call to say his new owner was allergic to him and he had to be re-homed again.
So, we took the decision to meet him. He was 4 times bigger than he looked on the picture, but was so happy to have someone make a fuss of him! And he bonded with the boys instantly. How could we walk away from him? The rest of course is history.
Why We Chose To Rescue Rather That Buying A Puppy.
It was important to us to save a dog from a horrible experience. Dogs of all ages are re-homed in the UK. Getting that chance to give an unloved animal a forever home was incredible. We are so lucky we found Toby.
Toby is now totally pampered, and called Tony by Chris and the boys. Why? I have no idea. But he seems to like it. It’s safe to say we all LOVE having a dog and can’t imagine our family home without him.
And if you are wondering, ‘should I get a dog?’ Here’s why! Toby contributes to happiness in the Christie household in such a huge way. Demonstrated with photographic evidence and real stories from the big guy himself.
Reasons Dogs Are Great For Wellbeing
Dogs Lower Stress
Dogs Are Great For Wellbeing. A recent Agria Pet Insurance survey shows that 42% of people over 65 say keeping a dog keeps them young at heart. And many studies have proven that dogs have the ability to calm you when you are feeling stressed. As a result they have been integrated into therapy sessions in hospitals and care homes, to help patients feel calm.
No matter the situation at home and no matter how angry I am with any of the Christie boys (Being a mum is frustrating right?), Toby has this magical ability to diffuse stress and mediate potentially difficult situations.
For example, last week during a slightly heated discussion about all the household glasses being in teens rooms, Toby managed to launch his new toy, Felicity Fox, into the air and hit me in the eye! Thus diffusing said glass situation.
Dogs Are Great For Wellbeing Because They Make You Exercise.
Of course there are exercise benefits here, dogs need to be kept fit and healthy, no matter how old they are. They also keep you fit and healthy.
Toby took a lot of lead training, and still likes to check out any dogs walking on his country lane. It’s actually public, but Toby seems to have adopted ownership.
He also like walks on beaches and to country pubs, where he seems to know all the regular dogs. Which in turn allows us to have a glass of wine whilst he socialises and drinks water with his canine buddies. Who are we to deny a dog of meeting with his pals in the the pub?
It’s also important to ensure Toby’s health and wellbeing is on top form, so he has a monthly appointment at our local vets for a weight check and manicure. (He is not so keen on the manicures)
But on a serious note, it’s important for your pet to have a good relationship with your vet. And also for you to have peace of mind with a great pet insurance policy.
You Have To Get Up Early When You Own A Dog
He is like a built in alarm clock and trots up-stairs when he feels it’s time for you to get up. There are benefits, we never miss the school bus. And rarely waste a Sunday morning. Toby’s body clock is on the ball, he likes breakfast at 8 am and does everything in his power to keep you to his schedule.
This leaves the rest of the day ahead of you, no wasting Sunday mornings in this house.
You Always Have A Warm Welcome When You Come Home, Especially After Holidays.
Sometimes you can’t get in the door without being leaped upon, but it’s wonderful. You never come home to a bad reception or empty house.
Toby loves his holiday trips to his grandparents, but loves coming home even more.
Dogs Are Great For Wellbeing Because They Make Friends Wherever They Go.
Seriously, to say he can’t talk, he makes new friends EVERYWHERE. Dogs are a great way of getting out and meeting people. Everyone loves a cute dog.
They Help Us Teach Our Children Responsibility
Well, this is partly true. The boys promised the world if they could have a dog. And they never delivered. I had taken on pet responsibility within weeks. However it has taught them to care for pets and consider their feelings.
Yet having a pet is a huge responsibility. And they have to help in some form. Even if it’s playing with his toys every day and showing him attention.
Dogs Can Make You Feel Safer
I am not sure how aggressive he would be in a crisis if at all, but he is protective. This is so reassuring when we are in the house alone. Toby being here and his super loud bark that has delivery men running for cover makes me feel that little bit safer. In fact, 47% of people in a survey carried out by Agria Pet Insurance say pets give them a feeling of companionship.
Dogs Are Great For Wellbeing Because They Never Judge
Oh no, if I want to eat a full chocolate bar, Toby is well and truly behind me, just so he can watch. Even though he knows I will never let him eat it. For him, it’s all in the watching. And dogs never judge, they just offer love. But they also know the days you want a little extra attention.
I honestly can’t describe how much I love this (not so little) guy, we all do. Yes, it was love at first sight. But he has become like my shadow, and seems to understand what I’m thinking and how I am feeling. Over the years pets become part of who you are.
Dogs Love Celebrations.
I kid you not, Toby loves Christmas, and being the only believer in the house we all embrace this whole heartedly. He is more excited than the boys on Christmas Day, and on birthdays he has to have his own little bag of biscuits wrapped, because he is truly giddy about the whole affair.
And Lastly, Dogs Are Great For Wellbeing Because They Are ALWAYS Affectionate
Any time of the day he is there ready to give you some love, these are the times I wish he was as small as he looked on the picture. Toby believes he is a lap dog and is able to squeeze his whole 20kg onto my lap. But you know what? We wouldn’t change our oversized, messy fur dropping bear for the world, He is ours and we love him just the way he is.
If You Are Thinking About Getting A Dog?
Yes, they take a lot of time and effort. But if you embrace pet ownership then its not a chore but a pleasure and life changing in the best way. And offering a forever home to a senior dog means less time puppy training, and in our experience, no chewing, which leaves you more time to embrace pet ownership and gives you more time to enjoy long country walks and snuggles on the sofa.
If you have an older pet, now is a great time to make sure it has lifetime pet insurance. In October and November, Agria Pet Insurance is removing the upper age limit that usually applies to new policies for cats, dogs and rabbits.
Disclaimer; This is a paid promotion with Agria Pet Insurance, however my undying love for my giant, messy, muddy, bear like puppy and all my thoughts are my own.