Dogs contribute to human health…and here’s the evidence!

My mom Cathy interrupted my peaceful nap this morning. “Gracie, get over here!” she yelled. “I’ve been saying this for years.”

Okay, mom. I get off my mom’s bed and trot to the living room, wondering what could possibly be going on at this hour. After I assume my designated spot on the couch, my mom began to read this article from the New York Times

It seems that somewhere in Missouri, which I gather is far from Seattle where we live, a medical team conducted an experiment with 35 seniors in assisted living. Twenty-three were assigned human walking partners. Twelve lucky residents were assigned to walk dogs at a local animal shelter.

The human pairs didn’t do so well. They talked each other into quitting and staying home. Too hot. Too cold.

The dog walkers never faltered. They’d look forward to the outing at the animal shelter. They would leap off the bus, saying, “Where’s my dog?”

And here’s the good part (according to my mom). The dog walkers demonstrated increased fitness. Some were able to lose their canes and walkers. They increased their walking speed.

The good part according to me: More people recognize the value of dogs. Maybe we’ll see an end to those no-dog zones that keep me from accompanying my mom to coffee shops and libraries. We’re cleaner and better behaved than a lot of humans.

In Seattle Metro, where we can ride buses, the drivers always say, “That dog is a better passenger than most of the humans.”

True. I don’t have a cell phone. I’ve never done drugs. I just sit quietly on Cathy’s lap and collect pats and rubs from everybody who goes by. Most people smile when they see me.

Okay, legislators and rulers of the human world. It’s time to make a bigger place for dogs in everybody’s life and get more dogs out of that shelter. I bet if assisted living facilities offered dogs to the residents, their medical bills would go down.

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