Above is a photo of my dog Motzie (short for Mozzarella Cheese Pillow). My forever dog, to quote Jon Katz, author of A Good Dog: The Story of Orson, Who Changed My Life. I stare into my dog’s eyes daily. She often may ponder, “Do I have something on my face?” in return. I’m not sure.

Do you have a dog? Okay, good. If not, WTF is wrong with you? Go find your dog. Gaze into your dog’s eyes. Not too close. Your dog might not be cool with that. She may bite you on the nose or eyeball. There, that’s a proper distance. Feel better? There’s a reason why this makes you feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. It’s called oxytocin. Oxytocin is sometimes referred to as the love hormone. When a mother gives birth to her baby, it’s oxytocin that shoots that little bad boy (or girl) out of the uterus. True fact.

The simple act of looking at your dog shoots oxytocin through your brain and reduces stress. It’s a scientific fact. In high stress situations, you may not have your dog by your side. Your second option then: a photo. Place a photo of your dog on the home screen of your phone. Look at it often.

These are the benefits of staring at your dog:

  • Alleviates anxiety and depression
  • Improves mood
  • Lowers the body’s cortisol (stress hormone) levels
  • Lowers heart rate and blood pressure

If you find yourself stressed, don’t react. If someone upsets you, don’t react. Instead, find your dog. Gaze into your dog’s eyeballs. If your dog isn’t nearby, unlock your phone and stare at a photo of your dog. Better? Good. Dogs are awesome.

Believe science. Science loves dogs. You love dogs. Everyone is in love. It’s the oxytocin. And, those puppy dog eyes.

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4 Comments

I love my dog. He is a big, lovable furball that always eases my fears and puts my mind at ease after a long day. I only hope I do the same for him.

I thought my dog loved me, until I would take her to the vet. Inherently, she knew where she was going. There was the hiding…the whining…THE LOOK. But once we were home, she knew there was a treat and a love fest. All would be well until……..

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