Any dog owner can confirm that a dog can become a great emotional support in your time of need. When you are feeling down, your dog can cheer you up, and when you are lonely, your dog is there to offer companionship. Many people who have suffered from mental health problems such as depression, stress, and anxiety have found that having a dog can help them to cope with their symptoms and face each day. It is not just members of the public who suffer from such problems, as having celebrity status does not protect you from suffering from a mental health condition. Regardless of who you are, depression can take hold and make you feel like life is no longer worth living. People often assume that celebrities have it all and that they are not susceptible to such emotions, but that is not the case.
One celebrity who has experienced serious depression is a country singer and actress Dolly Parton, says I Heart Dogs. She has opened up about her experiences, even revealing that she had once contemplated suicide. Surprisingly, it was not a medical intervention that changed her mind, as it was an unexpected distraction that prevented her from taking her own life. The singer, who is now in her seventies, spoke candidly about her depression and suicidal thoughts in an interview with Dogs Monthly Magazine. The singer has explained that she went through a very troubled period in her life when she was feeling extremely low. Things got so bad that she even began to think about ending it all.
At that time, Parton was living in an area that had high crime rates and break-ins were a regular occurrence. For this reason, residents of the area would often have a gun at home for protection and this was often kept by their bedside. Dolly was amongst those who chose to keep a gun in her property. Dolly was living in such a terrible area because she was suffering from hardship at that time. She had also recently experienced a personal tragedy. It all became too much, so she opened the drawer where she kept her gun and took it out. She had decided that the only option to end her pain was to take her own life. She was just about to shoot herself when something surprising stopped her in her tracks. Her Boston Terrier Popeye was scratching at her bedroom door; a noise that was enough to cause her to pause and think about what she was doing. She gathered her thoughts and saw sense, putting the gun back securely in her drawer.
She then opened her bedroom door to let Popeye join her. The dog’s reaction was surprising considering he had only been separated from Dolly for a matter of minutes. He ran to her and greeted her excitedly as though he had not seen her for months. She realized that no matter how low she felt, her dog loved and needed her. Without Popeye distracting her that day, Dolly Parton’s life may have been tragically cut short. She credits changing her mind about suicide to her dog. The fact that Dolly Parton has talked so candidly about her depression and suicidal thoughts may have helped to raise awareness of mental health issues, which is something that affects millions of people across the globe. Mental health conditions were often attached to stigma, and people were ashamed to admit their problems. Celebrities talking openly about their experiences may help many others to seek the support they need.
Dolly Parton is far from alone in claiming that their dog has supported them in their time of need and helped them to cope with a difficult period. In fact, many dog owners say that their dog has helped them to cope with a mental health issue. Scientific studies have now proven that there truly are benefits to those who are suffering from a mental health condition owning a dog. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, there are 40 million adults in the United States who are affected by depression. Research has shown that these people could benefit from owning or spending time with a dog. The studies have revealed that dog ownership contributes to happiness and reduces anxiety, depression, and stress. It can also ease loneliness and benefit a person’s general health. One reason for this is that the person has a companion in their dog, so they do not feel alone.
Also, dog ownership encourages exercise, whether this is simply getting up to play with your dog or taking them for a long walk outdoors. This can reduce the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, and help you to maintain a healthy weight. Furthermore, it can elevate levels of dopamine and oxytocin, which are commonly referred to as the feel-good hormones. A further reason why exercising with your dog is good for alleviating many of the symptoms of stress, depression, and anxiety is that it encourages social interaction. Interacting with other people regularly will reduce loneliness and reduce many stress and anxiety symptoms. If you suffer from a mental health issue and you are not a dog owner, perhaps Dolly Parton’s story may make you consider getting a dog yourself. The evidence from studies backs up her claim that her dog truly helped her through one of the most difficult times in her life. Even if you cannot commit to caring for a dog yourself or you are restricted in terms of pet ownership where you live, this does not mean that you cannot reap the rewards of spending time with a dog. Consider volunteering at a rescue shelter where they need as much support as they can get. This way, both you and the rescue dogs will benefit from your volunteer work.