Cathy skimmed through Made For Each Other: The Biology of the Human–Animal Bond, by Meg Daley Olmert. She didn’t get into all the details about oxytocin.
But here’s what she read to me (p. 212):
“In 1995 Friedmann (a researcher at U of Maryland) …found that dog ownership was the big survival factor in the first year following a heart attack. Of the eighty-seven subjects who owned dogs, only three died; nineteen of the non-dog owning patients did. When weighed aginst the other top survival factors (strengths of heart, absence of diabetes, and regularity of heartbeat), owning a dog gave a heart attack victim a significantly greater chance of being alive one year later.”
Yaay! See, I’m not just a cute accessory.
Of course, my mom pointed out, people who own dogs tend to live in places where they have more control over their lives. Maybe that’s the reason.
But no. Another study randomly gave dogs to stressed-out stockbrokers. Those who got dogs were healthier and reported fewer stress symptoms than the non-dog group, my mom said.
Well, I’m certainly not stressed. Come on, mom: stop reading about all this stuff and let’s get some sleep.