Opinion: Dogs are the best remedy for high school anxiety


Credit: Katya Luzarraga

WSPN’s Katya Luzarraga discusses the benefits of having a dog in your life.

Katya Luzarraga

Your day is filled with stress and activities, with no time to even take a breath. Nothing is going your way and you want to cry, but as soon as you open your front door, there’s your dog. Their tail is rapidly swishing back and forth, tongue lolling out of its mouth. They’re oblivious to the day you’ve had, yet they always know how to cheer you up.

Dogs are undisputedly the best therapy a teenager can have. It’s been scientifically proven that dogs are beneficial for maintaining mental health, and high schoolers are in desperate need of this. Dogs decrease stress and anxiety and improve productivity. Dogs are the ultimate companion, yet they’re underappreciated.

If I spent more quality time with my dog, my mental health would improve significantly. Dogs are like giant teddy bears that you can hug and vent to, and they don’t talk back. Their round, pleading eyes and wet noses make my heart soften, and my day instantly improves when I see any dog.

Before I got a dog, I believed that happiness came from within. Now, while I still think this is true, I believe that an extension of happiness is achieved by simply owning a pet. Pets appreciate every little thing you do because you are their caregivers. Making sure that they’re okay and taken care of reminds you to take care of yourself as well.

Dogs are an extension of our own emotions, so if we’re feeling depressed, they will sense it and emulate it. Owners who are more extroverted will raise more energetic and active dogs, while more introverted owners create more hostile and anxious dogs. This means that in order to become a “person’s best friend,” we need to focus on ourselves first to become our own best friends.

As the school year begins to pick up, my mind launches into overdrive. There’s no time for me to relax or even eat dinner on some nights, let alone walk my dog. I’m ashamed to admit it, but my everyday chores are put on the backburner as I strive to be the perfect high school student.

Junior year is increasingly becoming more difficult, and without the support of my dog, I don’t know where I would be. When I come home from school and study for hours on end, the gentle prod of her wet nose reminds me to take a break and recharge.

The fresh air of the outdoors brings both my dog and myself some good. As my dog races through the grass, I’m able to collect myself and simply enjoy my surroundings without intrusive thoughts about homework deadlines. During the school day, going outside is a rarity, but my one opportunity to feel the breeze is when I’m at home.

Being a teenager is not only exhilarating, but it’s also overwhelming and isolating. There are moments when you feel like no one else in the world understands what you’re going through. Even if they can’t respond to you, a pet makes you feel like someone is there for you.

Not to mention, having a pet is the best comic relief one could ask for. If you’re ever bored on a walk, all you need to do is make up a dialogue for them in your head. Don’t get me started on the endless tail chasing , which will always be a source of entertainment for any dog owner.

Everyone needs a best friend, and dogs are the go-to, lifelong friends. No matter what stage of life you’re in, they give you unconditional support. Navigating high school is overwhelming, but having my dog next to me makes it all worth it.