Happy National Dog Day!
According to the ‘Canadian National Day Calendar,’ the ultimate goal of National Dog Day is for “all dogs to live a happy, safe and abuse-free life.”
But, what do dogs do for us?
According to research – plenty! Scientists have repeatedly concluded that owning a dog can reduce blood pressure in stressful situations and that pet owners tend to have lower heart rates than their non-pet-owning counterparts. In one of a myriad of examples, heart patients who left the hospital after treatment were much more likely to survive if they owned a pet. (Animals & Your Health, p 20)
More and more, dogs have been used to help comfort survivors of terrible tragedies, revive long-forgotten memories for Alzheimer’s patients, sniff out cancer, and detect harmful bacteria in water. They have also been found to lower the incidence of cardiovascular disease, help combat post-traumatic stress disorder, reduce loneliness, provide overall emotional support, and ease the ageing process…to list only some proven benefits of human interaction with their pets. (Animals & Your Health, p. 6)
In fact, “simply petting a dog generally decreases both blood pressure and heart rate and appears to raise levels of serotonin, the neurotransmitter associated with feelings of happiness and well-being.” (Animals & Your Health, p. 10) In addition to this, ‘Emotional Support Animals’ are now common alternatives to traditional medicines. (Animals & Your Health, p. 8)
In the US and Canada, more households have pets than have children. (Animals & Your Health, p. 6) While the figures of what many people spend on their animals can be staggering, the benefits of pet ownership may be incalculable. (Source)
In addition to the research, most dogs owners will tell you that canines have a magical way of intricately weaving themselves into the fabric of a family’s pack. Dogs can provide countless adventures, endless stories, and unparalleled laughter. Daily, they ensure that you get off of the couch, out of the house and into the fresh air. They are also very likely to introduce you to more neighbours than you might meet on your own.
What about you? If you have one of these furry friends in your home, what has your dog done for you lately? I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. https://www.alberta.ca/agriculture-and-forestry.aspx
Animals & Your Health: The Power of Pets to Heal Our Pain, Help Us Cope, and Improve our Well-Being. Time Magazine Special Edition. Bjerklie, David (Ed.). July 2016.
National Day Calendar. https://nationaldaycalendar.com/national-dog-day-august-26.
Tyson, Rocky, Jake, Jill, Lucky, and their friends, are currently available for adoption at various BC SPCA locations. https://adopt.spca.bc.ca