Eight years ago, I chartered a private plane to Wales to collect my first dog - a tiny Cavachon puppy named Penny.

Despite the sleepless nights and many failed training attempts, I quickly fell in love.

Here are four reasons why getting a dog was the best thing I ever did for my mental and physical health👇

🐶 Routine

I thrive on routine, but when my mental health is low, my routine suffers. Having someone else to feed and exercise reminds me that I need the same level of care.

🐶 Walks

I love walking - this is something I only found out when I got a dog. If I feel mentally or physically 'off', a walk usually makes me feel much better.

🐶 Social

I'm autistic, so not naturally social. But when my dog is with me, I can chat with anyone. I'm yet to meet an unpleasant dog walker - everyone is so friendly.

🐶 Company

When I am working from home, my dog is great company. She also reminds me to take breaks when I (or rather, she) needs them!

My dog helps me prioritise my wellbeing (by taking care of hers!)

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