Valuable Gifts in Fur

                                 Bailey & Logan

Bailey & Logan

“Dogs are not our whole life but they make our lives whole.” ~ Roger Caras

Rescues Bailey and Logan are integral to my life. As my current companions and with other Labs before them, their presence has awakened me to some amazing canine awareness. For example, according to Dr. Peggy McCardle, of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, “There is mounting evidence that dogs and other companion animals such as horses can promote psychological and physical health benefits in their owners.” Β This is probably not surprising to many of you.

Lately, I have learned that dogs:

1) Empathize with Human Pain. As reported in livescience.com, a Goldsmiths College (London) study showed more dogs will approach someone who is crying or in distress than someone who is not. This shows that dogs are empathetic and are eager to help comfort pain in humans.

2) Reduce Work Stress. The International Journal of Workplace Management has discovered that workers who bring their dogs to the office have less stress and are happier with their jobs, simply because the dog is hanging around. Yes, working from a home office has its benefits. πŸ™‚

3) Detect Low Blood Sugar. A Queen’s University (Belfast) study found that a dog’s sense of smell can also detect low blood sugar in diabetic humans. They are trained to alert the person that their sugar has dropped or, if a diabetic attack has already occurred, will bark incessantly in an attempt to alert somebody to come help, thus helping their owners stay healthy and saving diabetics’ lives.

4) Help Veterans Overcome PTSD. Smithsonianmag.com reports that simply by being themselves, dogs have been shown to help reduce PTSD among soldiers. In addition to providing usual canine companionship, they help sufferers come out of their shells, be less numb and angry, and improve their social life as well. I have seen this first-hand as my neighbor has been working with service dogs and vets with PTSD for over two years. It’s amazing what these dogs do with and for their humans.

5) Reduce Your Risk of Heart Problems. Researchers at Baker Medical Research Institute (Melbourne), have found that pet owners have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels across the board regardless of their smoking habits, diet, body mass index, or income level. Preliminary studies by the American Heart Association are revealing that dog owners have less risk of heart disease than those without dogs. The reasons given are the exercise that owners get when walking their dogs, plus the presence of the dog helps the owner deal with stress better.

6) Help People with Dementia Live a Better Life. Dogs have shown that they can help keep dementia sufferers on schedule, reminding them when it’s time for medicine and when to see the doctor. When owners experience frustration over the state of their mind, the “dementia dog” is right there to support and remind them that someone is always there for them.

As we continue to age (or as my friend Dr. Glenn Miya prefers, “As time passes by”), you may want to consider a dog as more than just a loyal companion. Unconditionally giving and loving, s/he could become your new furry doctor… and they will certainly bring you more joy than a fox, mink or sable.

44 thoughts on “Valuable Gifts in Fur

  1. Pet’s are magic indeed! Bailey & Logan are happy to have you as their owner and caregiver Eric. Great names, I recall Governor Patten’s dogs in HKG were named Gin & Tonic, can’t find a better mix. Merry Christmas and Happy Newyear, thanks for all the great posts.

    • Love the Patten dog names. I didn’t know this! Thanks for your kind acknowledgment of the posts. I always appreciate your reading and commenting on them. Warm wishes returned as we head into a new Gregorian calendar year — with yours to soon follow. πŸ™‚

  2. What a wonderful post, Eric. We have a dog we love very much and I can see how he can provide all those things. Such an refreshing and hopeful post. Thanks again.

    • I suspect your dog isn’t with you in London. Hopefully, he’s with good neighbors or friends where he’s likely, anxiously awaiting your return home. Here’s to our canine companions, Don. Thanks for acknowledging them and yours!

  3. Shows great compassion, Eric, that you adopted your beautiful companions and they more than return the love, don’t they? Truisms throughout this piece and, man, I can’t wait to get a place in which I can get a dog.

    • Not sure if you’ve ever heard of black dog syndrome. People are often hesitant to rescue/adopt black dogs (especially larger breeds) due to unfounded fears. My two couldn’t be more lovable!! Look forward to hearing about the day when you get to a place where a dog can join you. πŸ™‚

    • I used to travel considerably. Logan didn’t like it, even when I had kind neighbors regularly looking in on, feeding, and walking him. That’s why we added Bailey to the family. In 1.5 years together, they’ve become inseparable. Food for thought… as two truly isn’t that much more work than one. πŸ™‚

  4. I’ve had Zola for six years… the first five of those years were pure hell, I honestly don’t know how I would have made it without her. Even though she can be an annoying little shit πŸ™‚

    • You were not alone, Aussa. It took me 2+ years after I rescued Logan (along with vet prescribed doggie Prozac) to calm him down. He was beyond a wild guy. Yet with a lot of work and love, he’s finally come into his own loving ways. I’d not for a second ever consider parting ways with either of them. Glad to learn you’re smiling when you speak of your annoying… πŸ™‚

  5. Awwww, I LOVE it!!! My golden retriever and 4 cats are the light of my life, and keep me carefully under β€œsupervision” by cuddling.

    Thanks so much, Linda

    • Anything retriever works for me, although there are an abundance of canine breeds that are equally lovable! I get how your brood is the “light of your life.” πŸ™‚ Appreciate your creating time to comment, Linda!

  6. Pingback: Group Therapy: December « HACKER. NINJA. HOOKER. SPY.

    • I suspect many of us could admit to loving something ‘less than mainstream.’ And this is often a good thing, Shree. πŸ™‚ Domesticated dogs can be traced back to their ‘pack’ days which makes the wolf link understandable!

  7. Aw, that last image is particularly heartwarming. Again, well said and I agree completely. Dogs truly are man’s best friend. Have you always had labs? I grew up with a German Shepherd. He lived ’til 17, so I was in school when he passed. I was distraught. He was the most gentle pooch ever. Then mum had a couple terriers. Now she has a Keeshond cross… we think. It looks like no breed ever. She got it yesterday! They were all rescued and I’ll be doing the same when I own my own place. I’ll probably look for a Shepherd or Kelpie or something of that size-type.

    There’s a quote that stuck with me from a film called ‘The Wackness’ that Ben Kingsley’s character says.
    “Never, EVER, EVER trust anyone who says they don’t like dogs! You meet someone who doesn’t like dogs you alert the authorities IMMEDIATELY.”

    • With the exception of our first dog as a youngster, it’s always been Labs. Bailey and Logan are my 5th & 6th, though I am fond of Doberman’s and Shepherds, too. All three, smart breeds. A fan of Kingsley, I haven’t seen ‘The Wackness.’ Now I will, if for no other reason than the quote alone. πŸ™‚

  8. I love this Eric!
    It is so amazing that dogs are able to show empathy. When I shed a tear or two, Jasper comes over straight away. licks my face and almost sits on top of me. He stares at me for ages,as if to ask if I was Ok.
    I never realised how special this could be until I felt it myself.
    Cheers,

    Nicole

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