The kids are gone, the house is quiet, and now you're wondering about buying a dog. The midlife dog. The dog that comes because you're busy and fulfilled, but you have some room in your heart for a new life and some company.
Is a midlife dog right for you?
Getting a Dog in Midlife: Companionship and Company
If you're suddenly all alone, there's nothing better than having a companion by your side to help you through. Dogs are called man's best friend for a reason, they're used to taking on the job of our sidekick. There's nothing quite like having a happy (barking) friend waiting for you to get home.
Benefits of Owning a Dog: A Sense of Connectedness
Dogs can also help you meet people. They give you an instant topic to chat about when you meet someone new, and if you're looking for a date or even a new (human) pal you can always take them to the dog park or one of the play dates that pet shops like to have.
It's much easier to connect with another dog lover because you have something in common and can share stories with each other that people without pets would never really get.
Health Benefits to Pet Ownership
Dogs need exercise to remain calm and centered, and as a result, you're the one that benefits. Taking a dog for a walk everyday will give you a no-excuse reason to remain active.
What's more, dogs are thought to have a calming effect, even lowering blood pressure in some pet owners. One source says that "playing with a dog can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine — nerve transmitters that are known to have pleasurable and calming properties."
Your Time Won't Be Your Own Anymore
One big downside to getting a midlife dog is the responsibility factor. While it can give you a sense of purpose (especially if you're newly single and feeling a little lost), it can also mean you're limited with your ability to travel or do whatever you want at any time.
Part of the joy of being a midlifer is having a schedule that's more your own. A dog will limit where you go and when because you'll need to find someone to watch it while you're gone. You'll also need to come home and let it out during the day. So taking off on a moment's notice for quick girl's weekend? It won't work if you're a dog owner.
Take Time to Decide
Getting a dog is a major step, and while there are many positive benefits, only you know what's right for your life. If you're on the fence about it, see if you can "borrow" a friend's dog for a bit to get a feel for the kind of companionship and responsibility a pet will bring. Take the time to decide before you commit to a pet so you won't regret your choice later on.
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