Major News: Why Every President Should Have a Dog
By Sara Butler
Some pretty big stuff is going down in Washington D.C. next week. Your brain probably went straight to the Presidential Inauguration which is, admittedly, a pretty big deal. But in certain circles, the “indoguration” is what is most exciting.
That’s right, for the first time in four years a dog will be back in the White House. Not only that, but Major Biden, the new First Dog, is a German shepherd that the Bidens adopted from a Delaware shelter. It’s a real rags-to-riches-to world power story -- a true American doggy dream.
It makes sense that there’s a tradition of dogs in the White House. After all, inhabiting the oval office is one of the most stressful jobs on the planet. And a dog is a good companion to help a person, even a president, navigate stressful times. In fact, dogs and other pets have been shown to be a boon to your health and wellness. That’s why, if you’re feeling stressed and want to focus on health, a pet may be just what you’re looking for.
Live Longer and Healthier!
Dog ownership is associated with a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Studies have found that simply having a dog can cut your risk of death by one-third. Not to go all morbid or anything, but Joe Biden is starting his new job at age 78, which is 14 in doggie years. For anyone who has already had a heart attack or stroke, dog ownership will cut your chances of having another by more than 30 percent.
In a nutshell, dogs are good for your heart -- and not simply because they’re so cute.
Reduce Risk of Allergies
Your immune system has a big job to do. It identifies anything that can be harmful to you and unleashes antibodies to help thwart invaders and keep you healthy. But sometimes, that same immune response can go a little haywire and you end up with allergies that turn your eyes red, cause your nose to run, and make breathing a bit more difficult.
While some people may assume that having pets around increases your risk of allergies, researchers have found the opposite to be true. In fact, research has revealed that those who live with a dog or cat during their first year of life have a reduced chance of developing pet allergies later in childhood and reduce the risk of developing asthma, too.
So, having a dog around to help gobble up dropped food from messy toddlers isn’t the only way they can benefit your family!
Dogs like to be walked. And played with. And playing catch. They look at you with those big, soulful eyes and you simply can’t resist taking them out for a walk or tossing a tennis ball around with them. Dogs bring movement into your life and that means dog owners are often fitter than their non-dog owning cohorts.
Studies from the National Institutes of Health have found that regular dog walkers get more exercise than those who don’t have a dog. They also found that older walkers -- over age 70 -- walked longer and faster than those without a precious pooch by their side, making them more mobile at home, too.
Back in our caveman days, stress saved lives. After all, when a woolly mammoth came charging your way, it was your body’s flight or fight response that saved you. Woolly mammoths have been replaced with other stressors that are more constant in our lives -- meetings, traffic, and deadlines. Not dealing with the stress and allowing your body to be in a constant flight-or-fight state is unhealthy and will take its toll on your physical and mental wellness after awhile. Maybe this is why our ancestors also domesticated wolves, who are now the goofy, slobbery companions we know today.
Contact with pets has been shown to lower stress by counteracting your body’s stress response, reducing the stress hormone in your body, and lowering your heart rate. Pets also help you to feel calm and lower fear and anxiety. They really are man’s best friend.
I can’t wait to see all the cute pictures of Major Biden’s hijinks in office over the next four years. Hopefully, just seeing adorable pictures of that cuddly canine will fill us all with a sense of calm at times when the things around us feel anything but. More importantly, perhaps Major will fulfill his role as the calming influence our next president needs.
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