Saturday, 6 September 2014

Want to live forever – get a dog?!

As Perfect Pet Sitter we provide live-in 24/7 minding for cats and dogs. At the end of our round-the-clock sits, we've bonded so well with the dogs in our care when the owners return we're frequently asked to continue walking them.  And because we’re in touch with our clients they keep us updated about their fur pals adventures and developments.

One of of my clients recently told me a tender story about Indi. (Featured with Lilo in previous blogs and pictured here, Indi is a two year old German Shorthaired Pointer).
Elegant Indi tried to comfort...

She said her son was excited playing with his new remote control car when it’s front wheel broke off. He was in the garage downstairs when Indi happened to wander down and find him there crying. Indi immediately began nudging and licking him.  When this didn’t work she ran upstairs and looked at her owner. She said it was as if to say ‘come on, you need to follow me…’   So much so that she did follow Indi downstairs where she found her son upset and was able to comfort him.

She said it was pretty clear that Indi had tried to make her son feel better, but when that didn’t work she didn’t know what else to do, but had the idea of bringing her to help.

I thought this was a touching story, and very sweet that Indi had shown that loving trait.

This story took me back to when I was a little girl and yearned for a dog of my own one day. I would dream of how that dog would be my best friend and that he’d comfort me when I was upset. 

Flash in his prime, about 3
So imagine then my disappointment when many years later as an adult I finally got my own dog, Flash, but if he saw me upset he would run away and leave me!

We’d rescued Flash at the age of two and I suspect his three homes before he found us had some influence on his unease in certain situations - almost as if he was afraid when seeing emotions displayed.

It wasn't until Harry (our second rescue GSP) came along that my vision of canine comfort come true. If I was feeling down he knew and would come close and lean on me. If I was upset he would sit by me and lick my tears.... my dream realised at last - and Harry was my dog of a lifetime.
I totally adored my Harry and I think he did me too

It’s been known for a while that owning a dog is good for keeping blood pressure low. The way most dogs sense we need comfort is a good example of how they help us in this regard. They also are a major factor in our social lives, providing a link to the outside world and alleviating loneliness.

But research, published in July 2014 in the journal of Preventative Medicine, has  found that dog owners over the age of 65 act 10 years younger than their biological age.

This new research from the University of St Andrews provides irrefutable data them demonstrates that owning a dog makes older people fitter and healthier.
(To see the full report click here)

From having a reason to exercise as an older person, to a child learning about nurturing and the responsibilities that come with caring for an animal, a pet gives us purpose and everyone benefits when a dog is around.

So to the long list of known benefits of pet ownership, they'll also dry your tears – and you’ll live longer.

Flash aged 10 when we brought Harry (age 2) home. He used to hold Flash's lead and take him walkies round our garden!

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