Mental Health Benefits of Owning a Dog

“Dogs are not our whole family, but they make our lives whole”


I had never gone to the Humane Society to adopt and rescue a pet before, and of course, I am not an expert on training dogs or what products to use. But my dog Louie I got from the Scott County humane society was one of the best decisions, I have made as an adult. I would like to explain what the mental health benefits of owning a dog were to me.


My dog Louie is a male Jack Russel terrier mixed breed, who are known to want to play till the day they die, and Louie still wants to play non-stop. Louie was around the age of 1 ½ according to the Scott County humane society office. Originally Louie was named Brian. The humane society staff said that they picked the name Brian because of him having short white hair with deep brown spots like the dog character on Family Guy on my local FOX channel.


The Humane Society in Scott County was polite and respectful at the front desk. The staff told us about regulations and if we adopt, we must pay for the dog to be neutered and an identification information chip added to help in case the dog runs away, ending up at different humane society locations. Inside there were several dogs, thankfully a lot had signs on the cage that they were waiting to be picked up by their future family. Then we came across Louie. He was quiet and gentle, didn’t growl or bark. We met Louie and the staff in a guest room to see if we got along, he was nice and behaved. Which are good signs of a loving dog.

Adoption From Humane Society


Louie was a quiet little dog, I thought at first, he wouldn’t bark because he was that quiet. I almost thought he couldn’t bark. But later that week Louie was finally comfortable at the house with me and started to bark at cars and people outside. Only being 1 ½-year-old Louie still had the energy of a puppy in him. I taught him how to play fetch, which is his favorite thing to do, and to keep me throwing the toy he would squeak it non-stop. (Annoy someone enough and they will play eventually).

Louie caught on to his new name quickly and got used to being my little brother quick. He was extremely supportive no question asked. I was lucky because not even 4 months after adoption, without a choice, Louie became my emotional support animal. my mother had a heart attack, passing away on February 17th, 2014.


My mother was on vacation in New Mexico at the time of her heart attack. Her ashes returned to Iowa 2 weeks later for her funeral. Louie has been a wonderful support for all deaths in my family. Louie could sense when the feelings of sadness and grief hit. The website explains how dogs and other pets can have positive effects on the mental health of their owners and family members.

NAMI (National Association of Mental Illness) explains on,improve%20your%20all%2Daround%20health.&text=For%20someone%20living%20with%20depression,gain%20from%20having%20a%20dog that dogs are a great support for depression, anxiety, and many other mental illnesses. I use my dog as a fitting example of a wellness tool I use to help me in my recovery. With the events of my mother’s heart attack, and cancer and suicide deaths in my family recently, Louie has been a great resource to help me cope with those events.

Information on Suicide survivors

These blogs explain medicinal information on Lung Cancer

I have used Louie’s support for my recovery from the family deaths to stabilization, and I still use his support to cope with the daily stress of homeownership, work, & sometimes even relationship stress. Louie and countless other dogs in this world are great support for mental health. I will say he does wear me out, being in a playful mood 24/7. But I love him, and his support and love will always be welcomed in my home.

My Dogs Today

Louie & Mario

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