Work Happiness Has Four Legs

jumping-dog-whnEditor’s note: This is a guest post from Chrissy Scivicque of Eat Your Career.

About a month ago, I was out walking my dog (a 15-pound golden yorkie-poodle mix named Mollie) and, from a neighbor’s house a large, black pit bull came bounding out at us. Without any hesitation, the dog attacked. All I could hear were the cries coming from Mollie as she tried frantically to get away. Thankfully, her collar was just loose enough that, in that moment of pure terror, she was able to squeeze her head out and run. That beast of a dog chased her a few streets and then gave up. After running back home, I found Mollie, God love her, waiting for me on our front porch—a little torn up, a lot scared, but 100% alive.

I’m very fortunate; I haven’t experienced much in the way of trauma. This was, by far, the most terrifying event of my life.  At some point during all the commotion, I became convinced that I she was going to die and for a split second, I imagined my life without Mollie. That, my friends, was the scariest part.

Life without pets? No thank you. I’m a huge animal lover (I also have two cats) and Mollie is my best friend. I’m not ashamed to admit it. As someone who has experienced sporadic periods of mild depression throughout life, I adopted Mollie after a friend convinced me that a dog was the perfect remedy for a blue mood. After two years as a dog owner, I can safely report: It’s absolutely true.

The reason I’m sharing this here with you fine readers of Work Happy Now is because Mollie has gotten me through some extremely rough times at work. It might sound odd, but her presence in my home life helped improve my work life. Here’s how:

The Welcome Wagon

It’s true what they say about dogs—they are truly the most loyal creatures in the world. It used to be hard to come home after a stressful day at work to a quiet house. I would sit around and stew about all the things that made me upset, all the work I didn’t accomplish, the things I’d like to say to my boss. It was very negative and non-productive.

Now, I’m greeted by pure, unadulterated joy. Mollie jumps up on her hind legs and does a little dance every time I walk in the door. In that instant, the worries of my day at work fade away. No one could watch her bounce around like that and hold on to a bad mood.

Instant Social Bond

I don’t have kids so, at times, I felt a little left out of conversations with my co-workers. Now, everyone wants to hear stories about Mollie. I found that an instant bond happened with those who also have dogs. My social life at work has dramatically improved—an unexpected benefit of dog-ownership.

Walking, the Outdoors, and Thinking

Owning a dog requires a pretty serious commitment to exercise. I didn’t realize at first how much time I would spend outside with Mollie, walking and playing. And I didn’t realize how great that would be for my mental attitude. Like most dog owners, I make sure Mollie gets a minimum of two walks a day—one in the morning and one at night. During the morning walk, I’m able to mentally prepare for my workday. I think about all of the positive things I will accomplish. During the evening walk, I’m able to decompress, think about my victories and clear away any residual negativity.

Fresh air and exercise are two of the most powerful things for creating a positive mental attitude. Owning a dog ensures you get plenty of both.

Ultimately, the pit bull attack was awful, but we all survived. Mollie’s wounds are healing and she’s back to her old chipper self. For those of you animal lovers, you can see a few pictures of her on my blog’s “about me” page (just scroll down the page a bit). And, if you’re the kind of person who experiences intermittent blue patches or needs some help leaving the stress of work at the office, consider adopting a pet from your local shelter.

Bio: Chrissy Scivicque is a writer, nutritionist and career coach. She trains others to manage their career path with a holistic point-of-view. You can find her at EatYourCareer.com, a blog dedicated to helping you create a nourishing professional life.

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* Alexandra of Water Cooler Wisdom wrote a well thought out piece about selling excellence. So many of us are scared to do it right.

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