I recently adopted a Siberian Husky puppy, and it was the best thing I ever did. After months of research and back and forth with myself, I finally decided I should get a dog. I had recently moved to Atlanta, away from my home town and away from my immediate family. I've always been a bit of a risk taker, but the depression and anxiety that I suffered from as a teenager started to return.

When I was sixteen, I was diagnosed with clinical depression and was prescribed anti-depressants and anxiety medication.

To be honest, I was still miserable. Taking all of those medications only seemed to put me in an over-medicated daze. Sure, anti-depressants really help some people, but they didn't help me. I eventually quit taking my prescriptions and thankfully found other ways of dealing with my depression and anxiety.

It had been years since I felt myself falling back into that dark hole of depression. However, moving to another city, essentially alone, with all sorts of fires left behind me, depression started knocking.

I'd been living in Atlanta nearly 2 months, when I got Baloo, my dog. That's when everything changed. Here are some reasons Baloo helped with my depression and anxiety:

I exercise more

Since adopting a dog, I find myself exercising more. It's common knowledge that exercising releases endorphins, which improves mood. Most dogs require at least a 30 minute walk every day. I adopted a Husky, who needs at least an hour of vigorous exercise everyday.

Not only do I feel better from being outside, but also I feel better about myself because I'm exercising more regularly than ever before.

My social life improved

As it turns out, people love dogs. No matter where I am, if I have Baloo with me, someone will come up and say hello. I take Baloo to the dog park at least twice a week, usually more, where other dog owners socialize and bond over their mutual love for their furry friends.

I'm never alone

Part of my depression and anxiety in the past has been a feeling of loneliness. Since adopting a dog, I'm never really alone. Baloo seems to know when I don't feel quite myself, and gives me attention accordingly. I can trust that he loves me unconditionally, with no strings attached. Nothing makes you feel better when you're feeling lonely than a cold nose against your hand and warm, soft, furry snuggles.

Despite all the chewed up shoes, pee and poop on the floor, and vet bills, getting a dog single-handedly cured me of my depression and anxiety.

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