A Lasting Bond: The Simple Joys of Spending Time With Your Furry Companion
by Danielle Cookish
Spending time with your pet can be one of the greatest joys of sharing your life with your furry companion. And, whether you walk a familiar route around your neighborhood, hike across the Pioneer Valley, participate in Dakin’s Will Run for Cookies 5K, or play fetch in your backyard, sharing activities with your dog will undoubtedly help you develop a stronger bond.
One of the best ways to connect with your dog is to spend regular, quality time together. This can be as simple as taking your dog for a walk around the block each morning or dedicating a few minutes every day to playing tug-of-war or hide-and-seek. Using this time together to get active outdoors can also lead to healthy habits in your life - both for you and your pet. Dakin’s Behavior Coordinator, Lauren Rubin, notes that “Bonding with your dog through exercise can be an amazing way to build your relationship and improve your dog's behavior. Dogs who have their physical and mental needs met are happier and less likely to engage in boredom-based bad habits, like garbage diving.”
Building a new routine together can feel daunting, but embracing the challenge together will help you find your stride. Try to find a pace that works for you, but also remember to use the time to slow down and enjoy the experience together. Lauren adds “The trick is to be present with your dog during the activity. Are they interested in sniffing that bush? Let them sniff! Did they see a squirrel? Chase it together (as long as it's safe for everyone- including the squirrel). It sounds silly, but playfully running after a squirrel with your buddy is surprisingly fun!”
Before you know it, with a little bit of encouragement from your best friend waiting at the door when you grab the leash, you’ll be paving the way for a stronger bond with your dog, and enjoying all the simple joys that animals bring to our lives.
Not sure where to get started? We asked our staff to share their favorite activities to do with their dogs. See some of their fun suggestions below:
- “I love spending time outside with my dogs playing frisbee and going for walks on the many beautiful trails in the area!” Dr. Jack Muth, Public Medical and Education Director
- “I take Lil' One to staff meetings and the office. He loves them. He is older and can no longer go on long walks but enjoys the people time. I also take him camping often. He enjoys sitting in the screened tents at night smelling the different outdoor scents.” Stacey Price, Director of Development & Marketing
- “My dog and I love to play chase in the house on bad weather days! She gets a toy and I run after her going "rawr!" and we parkour (carefully) off of furniture.” - Lauren Rubin, Behavior Coordinator
- My 6-year-old cattle dog mix, Mavis, and I have been practicing agility for over a year at Heroes Boarding and Training in Whately. Agility provides a wonderful mental and physical outlet for Mavis and challenges me to communicate clearly with her as we navigate a series of challenging obstacles. I am so proud of what we can accomplish together working as a team!” -Madeline Nagy, Animal Resource Counselor
- “My current favorite thing to do with my dog Norman is to take naps. Being 6 months pregnant Norman has become quite attached to me and never misses an opportunity to cuddle!” Abigayle Bogden, Veterinary Technician
- “I spend quality time with my dogs by cuddling up on the couch with them watching a movie and snuggling.” Lori York, Spay/Neuter Prep Tech
- “With an active husky at home, we do lots of activities together! My all-time favorite is to let her do what huskies do best- RUN! She’s fast so I use a kick bike and she leads the way!” - Kaitlyn Holloway, Community Engagement Manager
Still need a little more inspiration? We encourage you to participate in our 2nd annual Will Run For Cookies 5K Run/2K Walk. This unique event will be held on Sunday, May 7th at Stanley Park in Westfield. Compete in the 5k or take a stroll through the beautiful park for the 2k. The best part is our treat at the finish line…. cookies! Hop on over to our private Facebook group to kickstart your journey toward Dakin’s Will Run for Cookies. Join other like-minded animal lovers as we cheer each other on, celebrate our successes, and share photos of our furry friends that have enriched our lives.