From today’s Telegraph newspaper:
Dog owners have lower blood pressure, are less likely to be obese and are on average 2.2lbs lighter than people without canine companions, scientists have discovered.
A study by the Mayo Clinic and Italian researchers showed that people with dogs are far healthier than those with either no pets, or those who own a different animal.
Dog owners also earned more, exercised more, were more likely to be women and were less likely to have diabetes.
Overall, all pet owners had a better lifestyle than those who did not own an animal, but those with dogs were found to be the healthiest.
I don’t have a dog of my own, but for over a year now I have enjoyed a part-time relationship with a young black Labrador dog called Ireland. He was registered with The Dogshare Collective when one of his human family suffered an injury and was temporarily unable to walk him. I started taking him out in the afternoons, and have continued doing so although his owner’s injury is now recovered.
Ireland was bred to become a guide dog for the blind, but due to a minor defect in his own vision he was withdrawn from training and made available for adoption as a family pet. Large, friendly and exuberant, he loves playing with other dogs and like most Labradors he has an insatiable appetite. We go to the local beach, and once a week to the “playdate” in the park, where he spends an hour rushing round with all his friends of guide dog stock.
There are many people who, for various reasons, cannot have a dog of their own but would like to help to look after someone else’s. And there are many dogs who, often because their owners are out at work all day, could benefit from some additional exercise and company. Organisations such as The Dogshare Collective offer the valuable service of putting these two groups in contact with one another.