My name is Sparky. It’s an honor to launch this new blog, Pet Ways to Ease Stress, which features prominent members of the pet community offering tips on easing stress. Each week, pet colleagues from households, zoos, and parks will share their stories of coping with life challenges related to work, health, relationships, and the most frustrating stressor – humans!
Many humans think that animals, at least domestic ones, have no stress. Ha! Every day, I battle Fido and Ralph to keep their noses out of my food dish. The nerve – they think they are entitled to anything in the house. Afterward, I must play several rounds of fetch and beg to score a measly dog biscuit. Who do you think my owners call to scare potential prowlers away?
Although very rewarding, pet life holds its challenges. As many vets will tell you, dogs get stressed out too. Therefore, I created methods to ease my stress, especially when my owner drags me to the vet.
How Sparky Uses Common Senses to Ease Stress
Like most members of the pet community, I rely heavily on my five senses to calm myself.
Since my sense of smell is highly acute, I happily sniff anyone or anything. Humans can’t hide their stress from me; I can smell it a mile away. Although my owner uses aromatherapy scents like lavender to calm anxiety, my favorite soothing scent is bacon!
The engaging sound of my owner grabbing my leash to go for a walk melts my stress like magic. I also like to listen to birds chirping and children laughing in the local dog park. Just keep me away from noisy crowds and scary sounds like thunder and fireworks!
Stretching out on a comfy couch or comforter is the ultimate de-stress experience for me. Of course, I adore being petted, especially on my tummy. Not only does petting relieve my stress, but it also calms my owner and encourages our bonding. Deep breathing is okay, too, except when I must pant to cool off.
Nothing soothes my stress more than the sight of a fire hydrant. After I finish that business, I love to watch my animal friends play in the yard amid the grass and the trees. Since I don’t discern colors very well, I watch mindfully, studying every detail in shade, shape and movement. Of course, I get a little distracted when an unwelcome critter invades my space. Then I bark and chase. Once I put that intruder in his place, I gently bring my attention back to the beautiful scenery found in nature.
Although a nice T-bone steak is my favorite taste, I will never turn down dog bones, biscuits, or treats. Truthfully, I’m not too picky. I’ll even eat those slimy Brussel sprouts that Junior slides under the dinner table, so he won’t have to eat it. And forget about practicing mindfulness by slowly savoring each bite. That’s for the birds. I gobble my food with gusto!
I hope my favorite strategies to keep me calm, alert, and centered help you. Of course, it never hurts to ease stress by getting into a little mischief. Woof! Gotta go. I just found one of my owner’s slippers—time to chew.
Image is under license from Shutterstock.com.