Man Finds Walking Dogs Is Great Talk Therapy For Guys
After struggling with his own mental health issues, he's sharing what helped him to clear his head.
One of my favorite quotes about dogs is by American wildlife photographer, Roger Caras.
"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole."
Anyone who owns a dog would likely agree that not only are they our best friends, but they serve another very important purpose. Dogs force us to get up and get outside, even if, at times, it's the last thing we want to do.
In fact, this is what inspired Rob Osman to start a dog-walking group in his hometown of Bristol, England, where men could not only meet up and get some exercise and fresh air, but also talk about their feelings with other guys.
Osman has struggled with depression and social anxiety in the past, and found that walking his dog, a Hungarian Visla named Mali, always made him feel a lot better.
"Picture the scene. It's one of those horrible wet and windy crappy cold days that we do so well in the UK. There's no way in hell I want to go out in this, especially not the way I'm feeling," Osman says on his Facebook page. "But there's the dog, she doesn't care that I feel like crap today. She doesn't care that the weather is rubbish, she just wants to get out and play. With me. Really? Yes really. And you know what, it's been the best therapy I've ever had."
So, Osman started Dudes & Dogs to encourage other like-minded men to join him on his walks with Mali. He says that dogs teach us to enjoy the important things in life, like a breath of fresh air and a moment in the cold winter sunlight.
Osmon enjoys a moment in nature with his dog Mali. Dudes & Dogs/Facebook
Osmon also feels that dog walks are the perfect environment to make people feel comfortable about opening up and talking about their feelings.
"It is a good way to do so because you do not have to look at each other in the eye and are in an open space," Osman said. "It is at their pace and there is no expectation for them to have to talk— it could be that they just listen the first few times."
With the help of a successful crowdfunding campaign, Osmon has taken his idea to the next level. He now has a website where you can learn more about the initiative, find out about event and buy Dudes & Dogs merchandise. He also plans on creating a training program for others who want to get involved and lead their own walks.
Here's Osmon talking about Dudes & Dogs after a recent walk.
While Osmon says he's looking for other, bigger ways to help those who suffer from mental health issues, for now he's sharing what has worked so well for him: "the fresh air and getting out with my dog."