Why Getting A Dog Is So Good For Your Mental Health

Sometimes I don't want to be told I'm okay, I don't want to be given advice or coping methods, I don't want any motivational speeches, I don't even want to meditate or flow on my mat, I just want a hug and kiss from my dog and that's that.

Don't get me wrong, I love each and every single human that makes up my support system, but one look into my dog's eyes and you will understand. My baby brother, Leo, is actually quite old at 12 dog years, but he is a true puppy at heart. Even on my darkest, most anxiety-provoking days, he makes me smile and reminds me that there is good, love, and light in this world. Leo doesn't understand my anxiety, but he does know when I need some extra attention and I couldn't ask for anything more.

When I'm crying and overwhelmed, I always want to push people away, but I can never say, "no," to Leo's cute little face. He is there to show me that it's okay to depend on a support system, and Leo is definitely part of mine.

1. He lights up a room and my heart

Jennifer Kustanovich

Leo is hilarious. He sleeps upside down (bonus points when he sticks out his head and wakes up with the worst bedhead), he loves the zoomies, and he has such an attitude.

2. He knows exactly when to kiss and hug me, especially when I need it the most

Jennifer Kustanovich

I swear, pet therapy is the real deal: one lick and I'm healed.

3. Sometimes I make no sense and start to ramble on and on, but Leo doesn't talk back 

Jennifer Kustanovich


Occasionally he barks and digs his nails into you when he is annoyed, but we will just ignore that for now.

4. All he wants is to play and go on walks

Jennifer Kustanovich

And being able to make him smile gives me the motivation to push through hardships.

5. Leo hands down gives the best cuddles

Jennifer Kustanovich

When I'm on the verge of a panic attack, his snuggles can really bring me back from a level 10 to a neutral 5.

6. No matter what I say or do, he still loves me

Jennifer Kusatnovich

No judgmental or blank stares and he always responds with kisses. Well, except for this one time I gave him a ponytail.

7. He loves doing yoga with me

You won't find him in a downward dog, but he will always be somewhere close.

8. He will go on a run with me, no questions asked

Jennifer Kustanovich

He won't ask what's wrong or dig for answers, Leo is just happy to be included.

9. He's down to go on a long car drive when I need to get away

Taking a drive down a scenic route to cope with tough emotions? Leo is the best road trip buddy.

10. He doesn't hate anyone or anything

We should all learn some things from my baby boy.

11. He loves attention as much as I do

Jennifer Kustanovich

I love booty rubs just as much as he does.

12. He cries when I cry

Jennifer Kustanovich

Don't believe me, ask my therapist. She has heard his whines as I cry through our Zoom appointments. Oh and I promise, no Leos were harmed during this picture.

13. He has no biases

Jennifer Kustanovich

He doesn't give any biased advice.

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