Everyone knows that there are innumerable reasons for a person to own a dog, but scientists have discovered a new one: Living with a dog will extend your lifespan. No one ever asked me, but I could have told researchers that a long time ago. We give our parents a part of our hearts, and our hearts are forever young.
I read about this research last week. Scientists have been studying dogs and their owners for 70 years. Did someone pay them for this research, which would encompass a human’s entire professional life span and more? Sweet work if you can get it.
They discovered that owning a dog reduces the risk of death by 24%. A lot of this comes from people who fall down wells. Ninety-nine percent of dog owners who fall down a well survive. That number drops to two percent for non-dog owners. The numbers are astonishingly the same for humans who run into trouble at the old mill.
There are also dogs who saved the family from rabid animals, bears, vicious vamping dogs, rock and roll vampires, inexperienced time traveling, Christmas hating Grincheas and elderly amusement park owners who try to drive people off by faking a haunted house so they can sell the land to developers who want to put in a freeway and would have got away with it if it wasn't for those meddling kids.
I know humans will look at the study with considerable skepticism because they have been telling us that our barking, our accidents, our medical needs, and our passings to the Bridge have taken years off their life. According to science, with every misdeed, we add ten seconds to your life. Instead of scolding us, you should be thanking us.
We help you live longer by sitting with you and keeping your blood pressure low. We also improve humans' cardiovascular disease risk by getting you off your butt and making you walk. Although the study did say the rate of death for people, who were killed because a German Shepherd dragged them into the street chasing a squirrel leading them to get hit by a bus is much higher in dog owners. The exception that proves the rule.
I must say it works both ways. Humans help extend the lives of dogs too. When we were living in the wild, our life expectancy was about 12 years less than now. We would starve or solve someone else’s starvation by becoming a Yorkie snack. Now many of us live into our teens.
I don’t need a fancy study to know that there is no greater union between species than between dogs and humans. We have extended both of our lives.
I hope people don’t run out and get dogs thinking they will automatically live longer. It is the little things, like walking us, picking up after us, loving us with all your heart, and caring for us that extend human lives... Also, if you are not a dog person, and can’t let a pup into your heart, we would be as ineffective as a placebo.
I hope we have added years to your life, and if we haven’t at least a lot of love.