Who knew dogs could keep you so healthy?

El Dorado News-Times - - Opinion - Danny wel­comes email re­sponses at tyreetyrades@aol.com and vis­its to his Face­book fan page "Tyree's Tyrades."

Alas, we haven't been a "dog fam­ily" since we had to eu­th­a­nize poor old Turpy; but a time. com ar­ti­cle ti­tled "More Ev­i­dence That Own­ing A Dog Is Re­ally Good For You" cer­tainly grabbed my at­ten­tion.

Not only can hav­ing a dog around the house lead to lower stress lev­els, de­crease the risk of asthma in chil­dren and con­trib­ute to lower blood pres­sure, but the re­spon­si­bil­ity of car­ing for a ca­nine can jolt older peo­ple out of a life-short­en­ing seden­tary life­style.

(Younger peo­ple? Own­ing a fam­ily dog USED to mean lots of romp­ing and frol­ick­ing in the Great Out­doors. Now car­ing for a dog just jolts young couch pota­toes into or­der­ing a drone to walk the crit­ter. But I di­gress.)

A re­cent study shows that older peo­ple who take their dogs for a walk take 2,760 steps more per day on av­er­age com­pared to non-own­ers. That's an ex­tra 23 min­utes a day of mod­er­ate ex­er­cise!

(Granted, this is very close to the amount of time that we cat own­ers spend let­ting the cat in and out ---- and look­ing at the fe­line's smug ex­pres­sion that says, "They thought Lin­coln freed ALL the slaves? Puh-leeze.")

The find­ings of that study were strength­ened by even more re­cent re­search by the Univer­sity of East Anglia and the Cen­ter for Diet and Ac­tiv­ity Re­search at the Univer­sity of Cam­bridge.

True, com­mon sense should make such stud­ies un­nec­es­sary; but every lit­tle re­minder/nudge helps. There are prob­a­bly peo­ple out there wait­ing with bated breath, think­ing, "I wish the Univer­sity of East Anglia and the Univer­sity of Cam­bridge would give us some glim­mer of in­di­ca­tion whether we should leave the oven on while va­ca­tion­ing or give our So­cial Se­cu­rity num­ber to a Nige­rian gen­eral's widow. En­quir­ing minds want to know!"

If you're a self-iden­ti­fy­ing "older per­son" or care about some­one who is, keep dog own­er­ship in mind as a healthy life­style mo­ti­va­tor. But, just as not every child gives high-qual­ity life­long sup­port to an Easter rab­bit, not ev­ery­one is pre­pared to care for "Man's Best Friend." Don't be pre­sump­tu­ous and pro­vide a dog with­out dis­cussing it. ("He fol­lowed me home, Ma. Can YOU keep him?")

Last year some anony­mous kind soul dumped a mother dog and seven (!) pup­pies on my then89-year-old mother. Only Shasta re­mains from the lit­ter; but I've been fool­hardy enough to take her on a few walks, and she could have a bright fu­ture com­pet­ing in Truck & Trac­tor pulls. I guess who­ever left those pup­pies thought they were giv­ing my mother enough "mod­er­ate ex­er­cise" to re-cre­ate the Foun­tain of Youth and start singing "On The Good Ship Lol­lipop."

A mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial dog/owner re­la­tion­ship is some­thing to prize, but be­ware of the law of un­in­tended con­se­quences.

If all older peo­ple start spend­ing an ex­tra 23 min­utes a day away from the TV, Pat and Vanna may wind up hav­ing a seden­tary life­style and eat­ing dog food.

En­joy the rel­a­tively in­ex­pen­sive health ben­e­fits of dogs while you still can."Big Pharma" is prob­a­bly al­ready in­ves­ti­gat­ing ways to horn in on the busi­ness. ("Who owns the patent on poo­dles? Let's buy it up and raise the price of free pup­pies 10 zil­lion per­cent to cover re­search and de­vel­op­ment. What do you mean 10 zil­lion per­cent of zero is still zero? That's a dog­gone trav­esty my con­gress­man needs to look into! Some­body hand me his leash.")

Danny Tyree

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.