Saturday, April 20, 2013

How Dogs Enrich and Save our Lives

This week's blog post was to be a Meet the Breed post. In light of the horrific events of last week that have affected all Americans, particularly Bostonians, this blog is now about how dogs help us, and even save our lives, every day.

We held our dogs even closer this past week for comfort, as we watched peoples lives change forever and, in some cases, tragically end. The Boston Marathon bombing was an event none of us will ever forget and Bostonians showed us the true meaning of the word "patriot". Through all of this, dogs helped us cope with their extraordinary compassion and patience as they kissed away our tears and endured extra cuddles, even though many dogs do not even enjoy this (due to the fact that holding dogs restricts their movements and puts them in a vulnerable position).

Dogs were key supporters this past week in Boston. Five therapy dogs (Golden Retrievers) who are part of the Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry, were brought into Boston at the request of the First Lutheran Church of Boston. Over 400 people poured into the church to seek comfort from these dogs Wednesday night and continued on coming throughout the week. The therapy dogs also visited hospital staff and victims which helped everyone relax and take their mind off what had happened. We obtained this information from which we found to have amazing information on this and several other interesting dog topics.

Here are some of the other ways dogs help us:

Service (such as guide dogs for the blind, deaf and physically disabled).

Seizure detection: Dogs not only are there to comfort and lie next to the person having a seizure and bark to alert help is needed, but some can even detect a pending seizure and alert their owner before it occurs (specifically diabetics and epileptics).

Lowers blood pressure: The calming effect of dogs can not only lower blood pressure, but their presence has been proven to actually lower plaque buildup in the arteries. Plaque is a major contributor in heart attacks.

Cancer detection: Some dogs can be trained to detect bladder, ovarian, breast and lung cancer.

Loneliness: They assist in nursing homes to aid those in need of companionship.

Allergies and Asthma: Studies have proven children who have dogs at an early age are much less susceptible to developing allergies and asthma.

Anxiety: The calming effect of giving affection to and receiving affection from dogs affects cortisol levels and helps to calm us. This is also proving to be very helpful in those returning from combat suffering Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Exercise: They get us out of the house and get us moving (which also assists with anxiety, depression and loneliness).

What would our lives would be like without dogs? That would be a tragedy as well.

We dedicate this post to the people of Boston (among them best friend Barb who, living not far from Watertown, responded to our concern Friday morning saying "I'm a tough cookie. Ain't noone gonna hurt my family.")