Sometimes we all need a little help when times get tough and Emotional Support Dogs will always be there to lend a protective paw…
Emotional support dogs can be life-changing and help so much with anxiety and emotional trauma, providing therapeutic support and help. The unconditional love and loyalty a support dog can provide is second to none and although all dogs will love you fiercely, there are certain breeds that are top of the class when it comes to emotional support.
The Queen may be on to something with her pack of loyal and steadfast Corgis. These gorgeous dogs are known for their intelligence and love of humans, providing the perfect companion and best friend and emotional support dog when times get tough. This goes a long way in explaining the Queen’s calm demeanour over the years! These guys do need a lot of mental and physical exercise though, so bear that in mind when it comes to making sure Corgis get enough stimulation! The good news is that they’re obedient so there’s no sitting on the naughty step at Buckingham Palace or elsewhere!
2. Staffordshire Bull Terriers
Staffie’s get a really bad rep as a breed, partly as a result of some poor PR and partly because of irresponsible owners. Contrary to their reputation, this breed is incredibly loving and devoted and you’re guaranteed a long-standing side-kick and doe-eyed best friend to be by your side even when those days get tough. With the right socialisation, Staffies will be there for you through thick and thin as a dependable companion and loyal friend. There’s no wonder that Paul O’Grady became a patron of a Staffordshire bull terrier club in a bid to defend this gorgeous breed and encourage people to see Staffies in a new light.
3. Yorkshire Terriers
Good things definitely come in small packages and these pint-sized pooches are super confident and real characters! Be prepared to lavish lots of attention on these mini mutts though, as they can be quite high maintenance when it comes to needing attention!
Yorkshire terriers make the perfect best friend and another bonus is that they’re small enough to take around with you everywhere, as a constant companion! With a Yorkie, you better get used to always having your lap occupied as they’ll want to be as close to you as physically possible! Having your own personal space may quickly become a thing of the past!
4. Golden Retrievers
Golden by name and golden by nature, these reliable, calm and even-tempered dogs are easy to train and incredibly friendly. We challenge you to wipe the smile off your face when you’re in the company of a goofy golden retriever. Incredibly patient too, they are ideal for those with health issues and incredibly emotionally intelligent too. Golden Retriever’s are so gentle and attentive that they also work well with children. After Hurricane Katrina and, more recently, school shooting episodes, Goldens were called in to help provide comfort and solace. Somebody give these amazing animals a medal!
Where do we start with Pugs?! Those hilarious faces and the crazy grunting sound they make bring a wide smile to our faces just thinking about this gorgeous breed. Did you know, pugs are hugely intuitive and can tune in to your emotions and read your mood? Pugs have been known to read anxiety and low moods and go about trying to fix it with their hilarious quirky nature- the Court Jester of all dog breeds! We challenge anyone to not have their frown turned upside down when there’s pug in the room!
What is an Emotional Support Dog?
Emotional support dogs bring love, joy and comfort to people in special need. Whether they are anxious, sick or suffering trauma. They visit hospices, hospitals, nursing homes and even disaster areas or are paired with those who need special emotional support.
An Emotional Support Animal (ESA) has been registered by a licensed psychologist, doctor or therapist to provide comfort and minimise anxiety and symptoms of those with a psychological or emotional condition. ESA’s don’t need specific training like service animals as they don’t perform tasks for their owners aside from supporting them emotionally and mentally.
The Science bit!
Worried that Emotional Support animals are just a fad? Think again! Extensive scientific research has been done to prove the efficacy of animal therapy in human beings, and a recent study, at the University of Stellenbosch’s Departments of Psychology and Occupational Therapy found that: “Dogs are known to make a positive difference to the physiological health of humans. They can be classified as preventers of ill health, facilitators to the recovery of ill health, and as predictors of ill health. They can therefore also play a role in the psychological health of humans by reducing levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and loneliness.”
Did you know?
Studies have found that petting a dog:
- Lowers blood pressure
- Causes the release of oxytocin, a hormone involved in emotional bond formation
- Decreases levels of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress and anxiety.
We probably say it 100 times a day as it is, but dogs REALLY are the best and will always be with us, paw in hand, in the good times and the bad!