Humans of SPA…plus their dogs

From service dogs to personal furry companions, dogs play many significant roles in people’s lives.

Dogs can also benefit people’s health.

According to the American Heart Association, dogs can “reduce stress, anxiety, and depression; ease loneliness; encourage exercise and improve your overall health.”

Freshman Frances Matthews’ dog is named Lupe and is a mutt. Originally, Lupe came from Puerto Rico and was saved by Matthews’ family from a rough life on the streets. The family got Lupe when she was just six months old.

In turn, Lupe is very loyal to Frances.

“It’s just kind of nice to have someone who’s always happy to see you,” Matthews said. “Whenever you get home, you’re greeted by them and they’re always happy to be next to you. It’s nice to have that.”

Lupe also provides a special kind of support to Frances: “It’s just like that support system that you get in a dog that you don’t really get with a lot of other things [that] is nice.”

 

[If] you’ve had a rough day at work, and he just comes to you, and all he wants is you to pet him and pay attention to him,” Lajuzan said. “I know it sounds like it’s extra effort, but no, it’s like you feel really loved.”

— Aimeric Lajuzan

Upper School French teacher, Aimeric Lajuzan’s dog, Mochi, is also a great companion. Mochi is a two-and-a-half-year-old American Eskimo.

Lajuzan’s family has included Mochi since the pup was three months old.

Lajuzan is a first-time dog owner: “I did a ton of research before getting the dog,” he said.

He specifically chose an American Eskimo because that dog worked best for him and his family. This is because the American Eskimo is quick-learning, intelligent, and a small, carriable breed.

Although, in the beginning, Lajuzan was never exposed to dogs much. Then, being persuaded by his kid, Lajuzan finally got Mochi as a puppy during the pandemic. Experiencing puppy behavior was difficult at first for Lajuzan’s family, but Mochi quickly grew out of that stage.

Even though Mochi is still young, he still knows how to support his owner, especially during tough times: “[If] you’ve had a rough day at work, and he just comes to you, and all he wants is you to pet him and pay attention to him,” Lajuzan said. “I know it sounds like it’s extra effort, but no, it’s like you feel really loved.”

Lajuzan’s family has greatly benefited from the presence of a dog in their lives. He mentions how Mochi has affected his wife: “[She] completely changed her attitude towards dogs in general.” he said. “…and I know that for her mental health it’s been really great.”

In addition to being the best furry friend to his family, Mochi has helped form a bond between himself and Lajuzan. They have formed this bond by finding an activity they both enjoy. “It’s also fun to walk him,” he said. “For me, it was good to have that thing that just makes me go out even in the middle of the winter.”

In addition to helping people professionally, dogs offer support on even the smallest levels. So, the next time you’re feeling down, try petting a dog.