In an age of anxiety, dogs are the answer. Dogs’ affection and companionship have been harnessed to lift the spirits of those in despair since the 1940s, and their sweet, slobbering faces are an excellent reason to get out of bed in the morning.
However, if you’re anything like me, pinning your hopes on owning your own dog is a little unrealistic. Renters have very little chance of finding a landlord willing to have one on their property. And depending on your circumstances, it can be hard to know if you have the time and space to commit to bringing a dog into your life.
But you shouldn’t let that stop you from getting in some time with doggos. Even a relatively short amount of time spent with a dog can boost your mood and help with stress-relief or anxiety. While it may not quite be like the real thing, borrowing a friendly dog is easy—be it for a weekend, or just for a minute or two.
Stalk doggos in your neighbourhood
For short bursts of dog-related happiness, there’s nothing better than encountering a pup when you’re out and about. I plan my running route through dog friendly parts of my neighbourhood, and it works a treat. But beaches, parks, and trail walks are all excellent places to spot a doggo in the wild. Not to mention a great way to get some fresh air and exercise, which will lift your mood even if you don’t spot any four legged friends.
Volunteer to help doggos at your local shelter
Although you may not be in a position to adopt, there’s no reason why you can’t muck in and help your local shelter. Volunteer roles vary in time commitment and can involve anything from taking a dog out for a walk, to feeding and playing with a new litter of puppies. Most shelters are volunteer run, and the dogs really benefit from hanging out with some human buds before getting adopted. It’s also a great way to meet other dog lovers and get involved with your community. Check out your local SPCA
to find out how to sign up.
Look after somebody else’s doggo
One of the few downsides of owning a dog is figuring out what to do when you can’t take them on holiday with you. Kennels are very expensive, so many owners opt for having a friend stay in their house and dog-sit. No dog-owning friends? No problem! Sites like Pawshake
and Trusted Housesitters
can connect you with dog owners planning their next holiday, allowing you to earn a bit of cash in exchange for looking after their pooch. A definite win-win!
Grab a drink with a doggo
Dog-friendly pubs, cafes, and eateries are cropping up all over the place. The next time you’re grabbing a drink with friends, check to see if your chosen destination is listed on Pets Allowed
. This directory lists all the pet-friendly places across New Zealand, and can help you boost your chances of a dog-spot with your next outing.
Meet the doggo community
Kiwis love dogs. Almost every weekend there are dog related events happening around the country. From doggy days out at the local pool
, to Pooch Racing
, there’s a lot on in the doggo calendar and spectators are more than welcome! One of the biggest events of the year is the Big Dog Walk With Lots of Dogs
, which brings together dogs and their owners in major cities around New Zealand, and raises funds for local animal charities at the same time.