Dog Days of Summer

Are we done yet? People that really know me, will wonder about this question. The fact is, I suffer from seasonal dysfunction so the summer is my “thriving” time. But I’m ready for August to be done. Do you feel the same?

The month started out all right but then things started to happen. I started having some pain in my side and knew it was kidney stones. I went to the hospital to get an MRI and found out I had five of the pesky little things on my left kidney. (My right kidney, not to be outdone, didn’t go unaffected but only had two stones). So I left the hospital with that good news and was leaving the garage when someone backed out of his parking space and hit my car. If you saw it before it got fixed, you know he got me good.

I had surgery while my car was getting fixed and thought I was on my way to better days. There couldn’t be anything else, could there?

Of course there was. We had standing water in the daycare (have you seen the roofer’s there?” And I found out my MAC is corrupted (thus the lack of photo’s and video’s).  The washing washing machine at work broke down. I know there’s more but this is the last two weeks and top of mind. Me, who doesn’t like drama, has had quite a bit of it lately. So it has been an interesting month.  Why am I sharing this with you?

Did you know that just looking at your pet increases the amount of Oxytocin, the “feel good” chemical in your brain? Does that explain why, throughout all of this, I just look at Rex and Seaquel and find myself smiling? I should be pulling my hair out – but I’m not. I have a big smile on my face.

And this got me thinking. Are there other things that dog’s (or pets in general) do that I’m not even aware of? Turns out there are.

* A recent study in China found that people who own dogs sleep better at night AND are sick less often;

*Other studies who that pet owners have slightly lower cholesterol and are more likely to survive a heart attack;

*Scientific studies show that when dogs are sniffing or licking their owners, they can smell cancer in the human body. WHAT?

It’s true, they are actually training dogs to detect cancer as they are so good at it.

I have to admit, I’m feeling pretty smart right now.  But here’s the best thing that Rex (and now Seaquel) have done for me.   It starts with a story.

Most of you know that I worked downtown in corporate for more years than I like to think about. I’ve lived in the same area for all of that time, but to tell you the truth, I didn’t know very many people. I got up early to catch the train to work, came home late at night and usually took my shoes off, popped my feet up, indulged in a nice glass of wine and got myself ready to start over again first thing in the am.

When I got Rex, EVERYTHING changed. I met people I had lived near for years and didn’t know. I became Rex’s mom, got a lot more exercise and yes, I’ve been happier (not that I was unhappy but I AM happier.) It turns out that dogs (pets) do that for their  owners.  Pet owners  are less likely to suffer from depression  and, even for those people that DO get clinically depressed, having a pet to take care can help them out of a depressive episode and, in some cases, be more effective than medication.  It gives them a routine and something to focus on.

So I’m feeling pretty good about things right now. I got the computer back today, the car is fixed, I’m minus five kidney stones (only two to go) and waiting for the next shoe to drop.   But I’m not worried.  When it does, I’ll look to Rex, Seaquel and the rest of my dog family (and that includes my daycare family – dogs and owners alike) and get that “feel good” brain stuff going on.  What do you think?  Does your dog do this for you?