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Wanderings with Willow: What the Health?




Hey everyone! It’s me, Willow, the Pet Therapy Coordinator at OceanMHS.  I’m starting a new blog series I hope everyone will enjoy.  I have so many adventures here with my colleagues at OceanMHS, I wanted to start sharing them all with you.




A bit about me, I’m working hard to get ready to take my Therapy Dog certification test in a few months.  I really want to become a therapy dog so that I can help others in my own special way.   There are so many benefits to humans from dogs and other pets.  In fact, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that pets help humans by increasing their opportunities to exercise, getting outside and socializing!  Regular walking and playing with pets can:

  • Decrease blood pressure

    Willow relaxing with her toys
  • Decrease cholesterol levels
  • Decrease Triglyceride levels

Pets also help manage loneliness and depression in humans by providing companionship.  The bond between humans and their pets can really help to increase activity levels, decrease stress and bring happiness to their owners.   Have you ever wondered about how to keep your pet happy?


Stephanie training her new class.


I asked my trainer, Stephanie Mack, to share some tips on how you can keep your four-legged pup feeling mentally happy.  When the Coivd-19 pandemic hit and we followed stay at home orders, so many humans did not leave their homes to help stop the spread of the virus.  Humans being confined to the same house and yard 24/7 is a small taste of what most dogs go through their entire lives.  It’s so important to include enrichment activities in your dogs life, Stephanie says.

Going for walks: Walk different routes in your neighborhood and visit different parks.  This helps dogs see new scenery and smell new smells!

Enrichment toys: toys such as treat dispensing balls, puzzle mats, licking mats and Kong stuffing toys can help keep a dog’s mind active and engaged.  You can fill the treat dispensing ball with their food instead of high calorie treats and stuff Kong’s with healthy dog snacks!

Something new every dayTalking 15 minutes everyday to teach your dog something new will not only help keep them mentally healthy, but will increase your life long bond with them.

Bark back at Willow via email 

Stephanie Mack has been training  Dogs for 16 years. Stephanie is currently training her Belgian Malinois “Ike” for IGP (tracking, high level obedience and protection).