No cottage is quite complete without a dog reclining on the deck, wagging its tail, and valiantly defending the property from the ever-looming threat of squirrels.
While adopting a dog means having your very own defence mechanism against cute woodland rodents, it also means that your lifestyle has changed—for the better. Here are 10 ways that saving a shelter dog will improve your cottage experience–and your life.
1. They provide companionship and entertainment
Dogs don’t exactly understand the concept of being bored. That’s why they’re the ideal cottage guests on snowy long weekends. They’re always up for a game of fetch or tug-of-war, and when you just want to relax and read, your pal’s furry body makes the perfect portable space heater.
2. Dogs help prevent cabin fever
The best part of owning a dog is that they have to be walked multiple times a day. This means that no matter how tempting it is to curl up into a ball and not move until spring, you’re forced out the door and into fresh air regularly. These mandatory walks are also part of the reason that dog owners have lower blood pressure, which means they are less likely to develop heart disease.
3. You’ll be pushed to explore new regions
Following the same paths on your daily walks can become very boring, very quickly. That’s why your pooch’s playtime is the perfect excuse to discover new areas and trails surrounding your property.
4. They’re always up for a walk
When you’re raring to get outside and the rest of your family has a million excuses to stay indoors, your pup will always be happy to join you on an adventure. You probably don’t even have to ask—just hold up their leash and they’re good to go.
5. You’ll feel safe
It’s a known fact that shelter dogs have more street cred. Okay, maybe we just made that up, but we can still bet that your pup keeps the bogeyman at bay when you’re going for a solo wander in the woods. You’ve already saved your dog’s life—we have no doubt that they’d do the same for you.
6. They’ll keep you stress-free
You already know that your dog will keep you active, but did you know that there’s scientific proof that they improve your mental health, too? Spending time cuddling with your pet has been proven to lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety, and cut down on stress levels, which is why they’re often used as therapy animals.
7. It’ll be more socially acceptable to go solo
Unless you’re a brooding writer or an edgy artist, people might raise an eyebrow if you announce that you’re going to the cottage by yourself. But add your pet to the mix and voila—suddenly it’s not so weird. It’s universally understood that with your best friend by your side, you’re never truly alone.
8. Adopted pups are the perfect ice-breakers
Got new neighbours? They won’t be strangers for long. People love discussing the mystery origins of mutts (bonus points if you’ve done a genetic test on your puppy and can confirm their guesses). Adoptive dog parents also report that they are continually meeting like-minded pet owners. By adopting, you don’t just help a dog find its people—you’ve created a way to find your own pack.
9. They improve your social media feed
Fact: Unless you have no heart, cute puppy pics always trump food photos on Instagram and Facebook.
10. You’ve given your pal a new lease on life
They now have a forever home, and you have a life-long pal.