How’s Your Health?

Man’s Best Friend

We always hear that phrase in connection with our furry friends, but by the way, just for the record, I’m gonna go out on a limb and declare that dogs are Woman’s Best Friends, too.  O.K., that’s settled. 

What does a “best friend” do for you?  What can you do with a “best friend?”  What can you share with a “best friend”?  How can a canine be a human’s “best friend”? 

Best Friends

What IS a Best Friend, Anyway?  

Among other things, a best friend is an individual valued by you over other friends.  He or she is someone you have fun with, as well as someone in whom you can confide without worrying whether what you’ve told them will “slip.”

We are talking about a friendship in which you can say or do anything; you can completely be yourself and never feel uncomfortable. 

If that isn’t the description of the relationships we have with our fur buddies, I don’t know what is.  (I’ll tell you a secret:  If my mother had ever heard HALF the stuff I told Sandy when I was little, I wouldn’t be here today!) 

If you’re a senior who has a dog, in many cases, you have a best friend who can save your life. 

Like No Other 

If you have a dog, you have a friend like no other. 

He or she is a source of comfort and companionship that benefits old and young in countless ways.

Studies were made at Cambridge University as well as the University of California at Los Angeles in which it was found that people who don’t have dogs have more doctor / hospital visits than people who do have dogs.  Medicare even confirms it.  Older folks who have a dog don’t need to see a doctor as often as people who don’t have a dog. 

Doctor in the House!

Better Attitude, Better Quality of Life

People who share a home with dogs or other pets are generally more physically fit (they probably have daily exercise), have greater self-esteem (they know somebody loves them), and are more reliable (they and their four-legged friend are accustomed to getting things done together).  As a result, they are likely to be more social, less lonely, and healthier. 

Faster Recovery 

Even if you do have a medical incident, you’ll probably get better faster if you have a dog.  Faster recovery time and higher survival rates have been proven.  Hospitalized seniors – and others who’ve had surgery – have made quicker recoveries when there was contact with a dog. 

Therapy Dog Breeds 

A Therapy Dog is one that has “been trained to provide affection, comfort, and support to people who need it.”  It doesn’t seem too much of a stretch to say that, whether we are infirmed or not, we all probably need a Therapy Dog. 

Some dog breeds make better therapy dogs than others. 

Labs 

Intelligent, adaptable, and fairly easy to train, Labrador Retrievers are suitable for every kind of work.  In addition to therapy dogs, they work as service dogs and emotional support dogs. 

Labs are kind, calm (despite their high energy) and patient.  They’re affectionate, too.

Even though Labs could be considered “large,” they are very gentle.

Golden Retrievers 

Here is another “big” dog that you will find working in therapy settings.  Like Labs, Goldens are intelligent and gentle.  The “bigness” aspect kind of fades when you see their sweet, friendly faces.  I read an article that said Goldens aren’t especially good watch dogs because they only meet new friends. 

White Poodle

Poodles 

Poodles are not just another pretty face; they are among the Top 10 most intelligent dog breeds.  This breed is a great companion on general principle, but he or she will be an even better companion because what you say won’t fall on “deaf ears”; they understand you. 

Unlike any other breed, Poodles are toy, miniature and standard, so size will never be an issue. 

They shed very little, and they don’t drool! 

You probably can’t find a better companion. 

Heart Health 

When you have a dog, it’s likely that your blood pressure and your cholesterol numbers will be better (e.g., lower) than someone who doesn’t have a dog, thereby reducing your chance of having cardiovascular diseases. 

Did you know that just stroking a dog is known to reduce blood pressure? 

Mental Health 

It almost goes without saying that (in most cases) people with dogs have better emotional health than people who don’t.  One reason for that, in my opinion, is you always have someone to talk to, and that person never challenges you about who is right.  They neither agree nor disagree; they just love you unconditionally.  Where’s the stress in that? 

Loneliness is also not an issue because you always have company.  With your four-legged best friend, you can be animated or you can be a couch potato.  You can be one with the outdoors, or you can watch TV together.  It really doesn’t matter what’s on the agenda because your dog will be there to do it with you.

It’s A Good Thing! 

Sharing your life with a dog is an all-around good thing that’s filled with love, total acceptance, companionship, and great walks (if you want them). 

And it all comes with a canine BFF who is adding to your physical and mental well being every day!

sk.

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Resources

Aging Care, Article:  Benefits of Elderly Owning Pets, https://www.agingcare.com/articles/benefits-of-elderly-owning-pets-113294.htm

Cambridge

Best Friend – Definition, Your Dictionary, https://www.yourdictionary.com/best-friend

Best Friend, Urban Dictionary,  https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Best%20Friend

Psychology Today

Labrador Training HQ, Article:  15 Best Dog Breeds for Therapy Dogs, by LTHQ, last updated March 6, 2020, https://www.labradortraininghq.com/labrador-breed-information/best-therapy-dogs/

UCLA

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