I’ve only really mentioned him briefly on my blog previously, but a little over a year ago, we got a beagle called Toby and brought him home and into our family. Having a dog absolutely changes your world and it’s an incredible responsibility – I think Toby equals the same amount of work as what I would expect a child to. But that may also be partially down to the fact that Beagles are high energy dogs and require a lot of attention and exercise. Since he’s been around for so long, I wanted to write a blog about the benefits of having a dog and the changes that Toby has brought to my life.
They’re part of the family
We first went to see Toby when he was just a few weeks old and he was in a little pen with his brothers and sisters with his mum watching on to check that we were being good to her babies. The first time we held him, we knew he was meant to be ours so the decision was made, he was coming home to us when he was old enough.
Since he came home to us, he has become an enormous presence in our lives. If we go out as a family, he’s always part of the equation and we look for more things to do that are dog-friendly or involve being outdoors. Toby is literally the happiest puppy when all of the family are together and as soon as one of us leave, he cries his little heart out and I feel insane guilt if the person leaving at that point is me. But he’s become a fabulous addition to our little family.
It sounds really crazy but there’s honestly not a day where I spend with Toby that he doesn’t make me laugh. From the way he chases around his toys to the way he interacts with other dogs or humans, Toby is a little strange which makes him hilarious company for the majority of the time. By being this way, I’ve also found that Toby has had a massively positive impact on my overall mental health and has brought down my anxiety and stress levels significantly by making me laugh and consistently being wonderful company.
They force you to exercise
Okay, Toby doesn’t really want to go out in all weathers. In fact, he hates the rain and he hates it being too warm so it’s not as if we’re battling through terrible conditions to take Toby out on his daily strolls. But he does force us to exercise on those days when we can’t really be bothered to get off the sofa – when I see him in the evenings, I will almost always take him for a walk and on the days where it’s just me and Toby, we’ll walk 10,000 steps easily. He makes going for a walk more fun and I’ve found myself going to different places to stop us both getting bored, which is pretty nice.
They’re cute as hell
You only have to look at a few pictures of Toby to understand how absolutely adorable he is. When he gives me those sad eyes, my heart just melts. He loves it when you tell him how gorgeous he is, his tail wags and he comes as close as physically possible to you to force you to cuddle him. I’m sorry, but that will never stop being adorable.
They love you unconditionally
You know when you’ve had a bad day and you don’t really want to talk someone but just want a hug? Yep, Toby has that down. It’s so crazy how much they love you and how much they do for you just out of instinct. A couple of months ago, I was quite poorly and ended up just sitting on the sofa watching TV all day. Instead of being hyper and trying to coax me to take him for a walk, Toby sat next to me for days on end, watching over me and keeping me company when I felt sorry for myself. But there are so many other little things, from going absolutely nuts when you walk through the front door to always wanting to cuddle up with you. Toby is the most lovable little dog and he totally adores being a part of the family.
There’s no denying it, dogs are hard work and they require constant love, care and attention and sometimes, Toby can be pretty damn annoying. Toby is the first pet I’ve ever had so before him, I never realised how time-consuming he could really be and hadn’t even considered how difficult it would be to actually train a dog who’s as strong willed as Toby. But if you’re prepared for all that, dogs are such a wonderful addition to the family and come with so many incredible benefits.
If you’d like to see more of Toby, he features quite frequently on my Instagram.