Folks – I’d like to call your attention to something that will make you look better. Something that will make you feel better. Something that will reduce your stress and bring love into your life.
Doggies keep you fit. A 2008 study published in Preventive Medicine magazine revealed that people who walk their dogs every day are almost 25% less likely to be obese than folks without dogs. In addition, dog walking lowers blood pressure and is a great way to get a tan.
A study by Psychosomatic Medicine journal reported that pet ownership reduces stress. They performed the same stress tests on pet owners and non-pet owners. The pet owners consistently had a lower heart rate than the non-pet owners.
If I were to tell you that I’m 62 years old, you’d be shocked, right? Right? My dog keeps me youthful. It’s the regular exercise. It’s the reduced stress. It’s the never being alone. My youthfulness is not due solely to my dog. I don’t look 62 because I drink a lot of water, I get enough sleep, and I’m not 62.
One may argue “They bark too much.” A dog’s barking is not necessarily a bad thing. Dogs can detect low blood sugar in their master and will bark for help if his master is having a diabetic attack.
A dog may bark to alert its owner to danger. One time a neighbor I didn’t know very well told me he locked himself out of his condo and a friend was on his way over with a spare key; could he hang out in my condo while waiting? I said okay. My dog, who seldom barks, made it known he disagreed with my answer. A couple of months later, this neighbor was taken out of the building in handcuffs by a SWAT team. Three and a half years later, he’s still in prison. Dogs know.
“Dogs are too much work.” Boyfriends/Girlfriends/Spouses are a lot of work. Babies are a lot of work. Put a little work into your dog and he’ll be loyal to you for life. Your dog won’t fall out of love with you, like your ex-boyfriend or your mother. As for babies, the journal Pediatrics reported that babies who live in a home with a dog are less likely to get sick – fewer coughs, runny noses and ear infections – than babies who grow up in a home without a pet, presumably because the germs the dogs track in boost the child’s immune system.
“They’ll cramp my social life.” Au contraire, mon frère. Dogs give their owners not just the gift of their companionship, but of human interactions as well.
A few years ago I was walking my dog along Santa Monica Blvd. and a man with an accent like Sophia Vergara’s and a face just as beautiful started gushing over him. Normally I cannot work up the courage to start conversation with an attractive man, but my dog paved the way.
“Where are you from?”, I asked.
“New Jersey,” he answered, in his Sophia Vergara accent.
“I mean, where are from originally? Where were you born?”
“That explains the accent.”
This gorgeous creature from the exotic land of New Jersey became my boyfriend. Walk your dog – get a tan and a man. Did I mention he was a model? Thank dog!
I wasn’t always pro-dog. When I was twelve years old a German Shepherd jumped over the fence into our backyard and bit into my leg, deep enough that I was taken to the hospital. I didn’t like dogs after that. I was scared of them.
About six years ago I was laying by the pool in my condo complex. Nobody else was around. A dog who lived in one of the units that opened to the pool area ran out, grabbed my water bottle in his mouth and ran around the pool. He just wanted to play. He was lonely. So was I. He looked so cute with my bottle in his mouth, wanting some attention.
A few months later, the deli next door became a pet shop. Every day when I turned the corner I’d see the daycare dogs in the window – running around in a large open space, being happy, loving life.
I came around. I went to a dog rescue shelter where I met Cooper. He was malnourished – just six pounds – and all his fur had been shaved as he was completely knotted when they found him on the street. He had been abandoned by his previous owner. They brought him over to meet me. He sat next to me and shook for approximately twenty minutes. He was scared of every living thing. I considered taking him home. I would rename him Ringo, after the drummer of my favorite band, The Beatles’ Ringo Starr. Cooper was his old life – mistreated, neglected. The name Ringo would commemorate the start of his new life.
While I was at the shelter, a woman came in to drop off a dog named Winston. She said her family could no longer take care of the dog – I don’t remember why – but he was a good dog and I should consider adopting him. I took both Winston and Cooper for a walk, trying to decide which one to take home. It was a tough decision.
On that day, December 22, 2010, I adopted two dogs. Both needed homes. Besides, Winston was the middle name of John Lennon, so Winston and Ringo belonged together.
Here’s a sobering statistic: only one in four dogs finds a permanent, loving home. More than eight million dogs and cats are destroyed each year.
Folks, you can probably find room in your home for a rescue dog. See if you can find room in your heart. Save two lives – the dog’s…and yours.
Today, my older doggie’s namesake celebrates his 75th birthday. Here are twenty great Ringo Starr moments.
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