Its no secret that I’m an animal lover. I’m vocal on my social media about being vegan and against animal cruelty. I love all animals and my dog Rocko is no exception. He’s a 1 year old Bully (pitbul/bulldog mix). And as much as I love him, i’d by lying if I said I have never needed a break from the responsibilities of being a dog owner, especially mid fight camp! Sometimes you’re so physically and emotionally drained at the end of the day, you might not want to go take your pet for a walk, play fetch, ect. But do the benefits outweigh the obligations? Here are some things to consider If you’re thinking of getting a pet while in camp.
More money to spend. If money is tight now, your new furry friend will only make your financial situation harder. There are quite a few expenses for pet owners; like food, toys, shots and medicine/surgery cost when they get sick/injured. Remember that if you’re pinching pennies.
Stress. If your dealing with a puppy or a “non-house broken” pet be ready to find a shoe or corner of your couch chewed up every once in awhile. This is stressful and an inconvenience. This also adds to the “spending extra money” aspect that we just talked about.
Extra chores/energy used. Have you ever cleaned your house, went out to do errands and come home to a messy home? Thats what your pet might do. Just be prepared to constantly pick up after him. At the end of a long training day, short on calories and growing closer to a fight, the last thing I want to do is pick u a mess that I didn’t make.
However, even with all the added duties of being a pet-parent, the benefits can outweigh the burden.
Unconditional love. Who else will greet you every morning and night with a happy face no matter what. Forgot to say goodnight? Didn’t buy his favorite food? Stayed out too late? No problem! Being a pet owner is a ticket to unconditional love, affection and cuddles. No matter what, your little friend is always going to love you.
Happiness. A new research from the University of Missouri-Columbia suggesting the hormonal changes that occur when humans and pets interact could help people cope with depression and certain stress-related disorders. Preliminary results from a study show that a few minutes of stroking our pet, prompts a release of a number of “feel good” hormones in humans, including serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin.
Also, petting our pooches results in decreased levels of the primary stress hormone cortisol, the adrenal chemical responsible for regulating appetite and cravings for carbohydrates. What more could a fighter, trying to cut weight ask for?
A distraction. This might sound like it’s a “con” rather than a “pro” but it’s not. Sometimes the first person we have to fight, long before we step in to the octagon, is ourself. Our mind is a powerful thing and left alone to run amuck, we can get ourselves into negative and unhealthy thought patterns. A pet is a much needed break/distraction from the usual metal obstacles we go through.
At the end of the day, there is no substitute for the love and happiness that a pet, specifically my boy Rocko, can bring to your life. I would clean up a million “accidents” before I ever thought about not having him around. I would recommend a pet to fighters or any athlete to contrast the rugged, rough and touch part of our lives. Some puppy kisses at the end of the night are probably what the doctor ordered.