5 Reasons Why You Should Adopt A Dog If You Don't Have One Already

5 Reasons Why You Should Adopt A Dog If You Don't Have One Already

They're more helpful than we think.

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Nothing compares to the wonderful feeling of coming home after a long day and being greeted by a loyal companion. However, the love and affection they give are not the only things that the little beasts offer.

1. They help reduce stress

Let's face it. Life is stressful. From academic commitments to work obligations, many students are juggling several responsibilities. Luckily, dogs help us destress. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), interacting with animals, particularly cats and dogs, helps reduce the human body's levels of cortisol (a stress-related hormone). So something as simple playing fetch or stroking your dog can help distract you from the pressures of life.

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2. They improve our immune systems

Most dogs spend a large amount of their time outdoors. They often bring dirt and germs into your house and while that sounds like a bad thing, the germs can actually help build your immune system, which helps you in the future. In addition, several studies have proved that babies and children who grow up around dogs tend to experience fewer illnesses and are simply healthier than those who don't.

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3. They make us feel safe

When you introduce a dog as a part of your family, they view you as their family and naturally their first instinct is to protect and treat you as one of their own. Not only is their companionship comforting, but it also makes one feel safe. If you're home alone, just having a dog with you can help one feel more safe. In addition, burglars are much less likely to target a home with pets. In fact, certain breeds (i.e. German Shepherds and Pitbulls) are great guard dogs and will immediately protect you from strangers, whether it be at your own home or even while you're out on a walk.

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4. They teach us responsibility

As we venture through our teenage years, we are finally becoming independent. Whether it is through living in a dorm or working and supporting ourselves, we are starting to learn the true meaning of responsibility. Not only will owning a dog teach one the practical skills of life, such as cleaning a cage or walking a dog, but it will also teach one how to empathize and take care of someone other than themselves. These "day-to-day" and nurturing skills will not only help our pets, but their use will extend to many other aspects of our lives.

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5. They love us unconditionally

If you have never owned a pet, you are truly missing out on having a lifelong companion. Dogs are selfless and love us unconditionally, and they are able to create a bond with us that humans could never compare to! They are never moody, they never judge and they are always up for whatever you want to do. Whether you want to take a nap or go running, your dog will always be there for you. When you love your dog and they love you, nothing can break that relationship. They will be the most loyal companion to you, and there's no changing that.

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20 Of The Coolest Animal Species In The World

Animals that almost seem imaginary.
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The world is full of amazing animals. So amazing, that narrowing them down to 20 felt nearly impossible. To determine who made the cut for this list, I used very important factors such as, cuteness and how much some of them looked like Pokémon . I know, very official. So here are some of the coolest animals in the world.

1. Pink Fairy Armadillo

The pink fairy armadillo is the smallest and cutest species of armadillo. It is on the list of threatened species and is found in the sandy plains, dunes, and grasslands of Argentina. The pink fairy armadillo is a nocturnal creature that survives mostly on insects and plants.


2. Okapi

The okapi is an animal native to the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. Although the stripes make many people believe okapi are related to zebra, they are actually closer to giraffe. Okapi are solitary creatures and come together to breed. They are herbivores, mostly eating leaves, grass, and other plants.


3. Glaucus Atlanticus or "the Blue Dragon"

These little dragon-like creatures are often only about a few inches long and can be found in the Indian Pacific Oceans. The blue dragon floats upside down in order to blend the blue side of them with the water, and the silver side with the surface of the ocean. This tiny dragon feeds on creatures like the man o' war and can even deliver a sting similar to it.


4. The Maned Wolf

The maned wolf is often found in the grasslands of south, central-west, and southeastern parts of Brazil. It is neither related to wolves nor foxes despite its appearance and name, but is actually closer to dogs. The maned wolf hunts alone and primarily eats both meat and plants (about 50% of its diet).


5. Fossa

The fossa is a carnivorous animal located in Madagascar. Despite having many traits similar to cats, it is more closely related to the Mongoose. The fossa is only found in forest habitats and can hunt in either daytime or night. Over 50 percent of its diet happens to be lemurs.


6. Japanese Spider Crab

As the name suggestions, the Japanese spider crab inhabits the waters surrounding Japan. In many parts of Japan, this crab can be considered a delicacy but can be considerably difficult to catch. The Japanese spider crab can grow to 12 feet long from claw to claw. There is only one sea creature-- amongst similar species (aka crustaceans)-- that beats the weight of a Japanese spider crab: the American Lobster.


7. Pacu Fish

Look closely at the teeth, do they look familiar? This fish is found in the waters of South America. This fish, while related to the piranha, can actually grow much larger. They can also be found in rivers like the Amazon and is an aid to the fishing industry. Unlike the piranha, pacu mostly only eat seeds and nuts, though can still create nasty injuries to other animals if need be.


8. Slow Loris

The slow loris is a nocturnal creature found in Southeast Asia. While very adorable, the loris's teeth are actually quite venomous. The toxin on their teeth can also be applied to fur through grooming to protect its babies from predators. Often times these creatures forage and spend time alone, although can on occasion be seen with other slow lorises. Apart from their toxic teeth, the slow lorises have another defense mechanism, in which they move nearly completely silently in order to prevent discovery.


9. Angora Rabbit

These cute, fluffy rabbits are among the hairiest breeds of rabbit of both wild and domestic types. These rabbits originated in Turkey although managed to spread throughout Europe and was even brought to the United States in the 20th century. These rabbits are often bred for their soft wool which can be made into clothing, and often get rid of their own coats every 3-4 months.


10. Axolotl

The axolotl or "Mexican salamander" (who looks like a Pokémon , if you ask me) is often spotted in lakes in various places around Mexico. These little salamanders are amphibious although often spend their adult lives strictly in the water. However, the population of these cute creatures is dwindling due to non-native predators and the continued urbanization of Mexico. The axolotl eats small worms, insects, and fish in order to survive.


11. Liger

The liger, however made up it sounds, is a real (and cute) animal created by a lion and a tiger mating. Ligers only seem to exist in captivity or zoos because the lion and tiger don't share the same habitat in the wild. Unfortunately, these animals don't live very long or are sterile despite being bigger than both the lion and the tiger. While these animals are cool and unique, they are not strictly natural or sustainable.


12. Bearded Vulture

I don't know about you all, but this vulture reminds me of a phoenix which was initially why I looked into the creature. These vultures inhabit a range of places from southern Europe to the Indian subcontinent, to Tibet. This vulture, like other vultures, typically eats dead animals, although it has been documented that the bearded vulture will attack live prey more often than other vultures.


13. Goblin Shark


This unusual shark is also known as a "living fossil" because they are the last representative of sharks that lived about 125 million years ago. It is a deep sea shark that can grow between 10-13 feet if not longer. The goblin shark has been caught accidentally in every major ocean. The goblin shark is not a fast swimmer and relies on ambushing its prey.


14. Red Panda

This cute, small panda lives in the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. The red panda is rather small, only about the same size as most domestic cats. Its eating habits range from bamboo, to eggs, to insects, and several other small mammals. The red panda is primarily sedentary during the day and at night or in the morning does whatever hunting it needs to do.


15. Blobfish

This blobfish is, in a way, so ugly that it is cute (although reminds me of a certain Pokémon ) This fish lives in the deep waters of Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. The blobfish has a density only sightly above that of water. The fish primarily hunts by just floating along and letting creatures wander into its mouth, rather than expending any energy.


16. Leaf Deer

The leaf deer is usually found in dense forests in the northwest region of Putao. The adult leaf deer only stands at about 20 inches high and the males and females are nearly identical except for an inch long horn on the males. It is called a leaf deer because hunters could wrap the deer in a single large leaf.


17. Tiger

While tigers are a more common animal than many others on this list, it is still one of the coolest animals in the world. Tigers are the largest of all cats and once ranged from Russia, to Turkey, to parts of Asia — almost all over the world. These animals are fierce, powerful creatures, although they are on the endangered species list.


18. Narwhals

Narwhals are a species of whale that live in the waters around Greenland, Canada, and Russia. The narwhal's diet changes depending on the time of year: in the spring the narwhal will eat cod, while in the winter the narwhal will eat flatfish. Narwhals can live up to 50 years and most frequently die of suffocation from being trapped under the ice.


19. Cheetah

Cheetahs, while more commonly heard of then some of the other animals on this list, are still incredibly cool. They often inhabit many parts of Africa and Iran. These amazing cats can reach up to 60 miles per hour in three seconds and use their tails to make quick and sudden turns. These amazing cats also have semi-retractable claws which helps with speed. The cheetah, however, doesn't have much besides speed to defend itself.


And finally....


20. Superb Bird of Paradise

This GIF demonstrates the mating dance used by male superb birds of paradise. Typically females reject about 20 mates before selecting one they want to mate with. They are often found in New Guinea although it is unsure just how many of these birds there are. As far as scientists know, the population has remained stable.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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After My Cat's Passing, It's Hard To Move On To Someone New

My true love left us too early, and now I'm wondering if I adopted my new cat too soon.

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On October 4, 2015, I drove to my 100-year-old creaking house with a meowing cardboard box in the backseat. I ascended the two flights of stairs to my attic bedroom, cautiously handling the box that held the absolute love of my life.

Betty Jo was a 13-pound cat with a hanging belly and piercing green eyes. She'd never met a stranger and was the ideal date in most situations. Unlike the dogs and cat I had as a child, Betty Jo was fully mine. I was completely responsible for providing to her never-ending needs. The nighttime was her time. When 5 a.m. rolled around, she'd wallow and meow throughout the house looking for any bit of attention from her sleeping housemates, much to our dismay.

But to come home to a living, breathing being that was ecstatic to see me nearly cured my depression. As if she'd read over and memorized my class schedule, Betty Jo never failed to greet me with a perky meow and a whooshing tail as she rubbed against the wooden staircase she knew I'd eventually ascend. She was the perfect companion when I fell victim to pneumonia just a month after bringing her home.

She offered security one night after I'd attempted to watch the first episode of American Horror Story. I was alone in the house on a Friday night when my bed began to tremble. It wasn't unusual for her to gently shake the bed as she cleaned herself, but this time she was just lying there.

Every possibility of ghosts or paranormal activity in that senior house came flying through my mind. My doorless walk-in closet was the perfect place for an apparition to saunter across my room. Of course, cats can see ghosts, right? So if anything, Betty Jo would know something was going on before I would, right? It turned out to only be an earthquake, though. So, everything was OK, but I still felt better with her by my side.

A month before graduation I totaled my car, leaving me even more clueless as to where my college education would lead me. With a borrowed bike to get me to and fro, I took the insurance money and graduation checks I'd received from family friends and distant relatives and fled to New York City.

But, I couldn't take Betty Jo, aka Elizabeth Josephine. Not yet, anyway. I had to maneuver finding a job while living in someone else's home on Long Island. I needed to be able to give her stability. You see, she was eight years old (or so her papers say) when I adopted her. She was a young grandma, but a grandma nonetheless. Her adoption fee was waived, but that didn't save me from the $500 I spent when I found out she had stress-triggered cat acne.

My duty as her owner was to keep her as calm as possible. The first time she flew our flight made an emergency landing in Philadelphia. I was like a newly single mother trying to keep her from ripping out of her carrier. I thought she'd find reprieve outside the carrier at one point. She'd clearly had enough when she wriggled out of her harness and leaped across a cat-opposed woman's lap. I was mortified and had failed at keeping her as calm as possible.

Cute picture of cat on colorful rug Madeline Nave

Her time in New York was not something I'm proud of. I was busy juggling a full-time job and a social life. Often leaving my apartment by 8 a.m. and not returning until 10 p.m. or later did not keep Betty Jo happy. I wasn't happy about that. Although, the excuse of needing to go home to feed my cat came in pretty handy when I no longer wanted to be out.

So I took her home. My mom willingly agreed to take care of her, and I knew Betty would be happier.

I spent two years in New York. Two years away from Betty. I moved home seven months before she died. Moving home was bittersweet. New York was insanely good but also insanely bad at some points. I'd decided that home would be a landing place until I was ready to flee the coop again.

My days were spent talking to and mocking Elizabeth Josephine. We'd play chase around the house which ended with heartwarming laughs and sincere cuddles. She taught me internal peace.

Soon, she'd begun vomiting frequently. During one episode, I was able to intercept and get her to the bathtub, saving the carpet or bedspread from a stain. While she paced in the porcelain tub, I sat on the floor trying to read her expression. I had an overwhelming feeling that something was seriously wrong.

It was cancer.

One of two types of cancer. One could be treated with chemotherapy, the other could not. At this point, Betty was 11 years old. As a single mother of an elderly cat, I couldn't afford to put Betty through treatment financially or mentally. So, I prepared myself for the waiting game. I filled diffusers with lavender and peppermint oil to soothe any chance of an upset tummy for her. I gave her space to nest but was right by her side at any peep.

She died within 24 hours of diagnosis.

On December 21, 2018, a body-shaking sob took over my relatively emotionless person as Betty Jo took her last breath. There hadn't been a time in at least ten years that I'd shown anyone that much emotion. There I was, in a room with a veterinarian I didn't know and my mother, completely losing it. My best friend was gone forever.

I had dreams for her, thoughts of a ring for her. She was supposed to move to New Orleans with me in 2020. And live with me until I was at least 30. But death comes unexpectedly.

Three months later, my sister gifts me a cat of my choosing from the local humane society. I chose Gracie, a 6-year-old one-eyed blue-haired girl. She's great, kind of quirky, but she's not Betty. She runs away when you look at her and only wants to be touched when she approaches you. She's talkative but not exactly personable. She's nothing like Betty, and finding contentment with that is taking some time for me.

Did I replace Betty Jo too soon? Will I ever stop reminiscing about her? I'm not sure those questions can ever be answered. But I'm confident Gracie has found a good home in me.

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