July 11th is Cheer Up The Lonely Day. It’s a day to spread some love to those who might be feeling alone and let them know that you care. No one is better at curing loneliness than our canine friends. Dogs do so much to let us know that we are loved unconditionally, and if we can share just a little bit of that love and compassion with someone in need, we can make the world a better, kinder place to live. Here are five ways your dog can help fight loneliness on Cheer Up The Lonely Day.
1. Catch Up With A Friend Or Relative
If there’s someone in your life that you haven’t spoken to in a while, now is a great time to reach out and catch up. You never know what kind of struggle someone might be going through, and your visit may come at just the right time to make them feel better. Most people in your life would be happy to hear from you again, and they’d be extra thrilled if you brought your dog to share some joy. Petting a dog can increase hormones that promote happiness and relaxation while reducing stress. So you and the person you decide to visit will probably leave feeling calmer, happier, and less lonely.
2. Meet Someone New
Dogs provide us with so many ways to interact with other people. If you see someone with a pup at the dog park, at doggy daycare, or even going past you on your walks, just say, “Hello.” The simple act of noticing someone can cheer them up immensely, and if they seem comfortable with your greeting, try starting up a conversation. Chances are good you at least have one thing in common–your love for dogs! Eventually, this can lead to a new friendship, which will not only help with the other person’s loneliness, but yours, too. And your pooch may make a new doggy buddy in the process.
3. Encourage Adoption With Your Story
Cheer Up The Lonely Day can be a chance for you to talk about how your dog has reduced loneliness in your life, which may encourage others to look into adopting. Pets have been known to decrease loneliness, especially in seniors. Share your story on social media or talk to your friends and let them know how your life has improved since you adopted your pup. You may help someone find a new best friend, and you’d also be helping a lonely shelter dog find a forever home.
4. Foster A Dog
An animal shelter can be a lonely, scary place for dogs. When you foster, you’re not just saving a dog from that environment, you’re also helping to socialize them so that they can have a better chance of finding a forever home. If you have a resident dog of your own, they’ll be able to help your foster pup get used to the presence of other pets and adjust to home life. You’ll be preparing them to provide companionship to a new family, which will reduce their loneliness, as well as your foster dog’s loneliness.
5. Volunteer As A Therapy Dog Team
One of the best ways your dog can fight loneliness in the world is to volunteer your time and provide comfort to those in need. Hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and other places appreciate the efforts of volunteers who visit the lonely. Even college students can benefit from therapy dog visits. If your dog is calm and friendly, look into the requirements involved in being a certified therapy dog team. Click here if you want to know more about what it takes to train and certify a therapy dog.
What other ways can dogs help fight loneliness? Will you and your pup reach out to others on Cheer Up The Lonely Day? Let us know in the comments below!