A Special Thanks to Dogs

Cindy SmithDog Holidays, Senior Dogs

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and that means overstuffing yourself with turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. It’s also the kickoff of a busy season, where giving thanks can often get lost in the shuffle.

Today we are going to take a moment to give thanks for one of the most important members of your household, man’s best friend – your dog.

Unconditional Love
During the pandemic, the shelters cleared out. Why?  Everyone was confined to their house, and nothing beats the unconditional love of a dog. They don’t care if you are rich or poor, employed or unemployed. Their needs are really minimal – shelter, some kibble and attention. For many people, their sanity was saved during the pandemic due to the love of a dog. After a long day, they are the first to greet you at the door with their tail wagging. They are ALWAYS happy to see you and are only in a bad mood if they are sick. Humans can’t say that!

They never get too old to cuddle on the couch with you nor do they ever get to the age where they are   embarrassed if you kiss them … in fact, most dogs love it!

Dogs in general supply their owners with support and undying loyalty. We have all heard the story of Capitan, a German Shepherd who refused to leave his owner’s grave for a decade! There are numerous stories of dogs who have helped their owners who are seeing or visually impaired. Take Simon the guide dog who was hurt yet pushed a child out of the way of a speeding car for his visually impaired owners and saved the son’s life even though it cost him his own. Or Mabeline, a rescue dog who saved her female dog walker from a male attacker.

There are also dogs that are trained to help people with diabetes, epilepsy, high blood pressure and more. In addition to detecting illnesses, they can prevent it before it even starts. A study of the high stress job of stockbrokers showed that having a cat or dog helped lower the spikes in blood pressure that happen when a person is stressed. Another study of hospitalized heart patients found that dogs decreased the patients’ blood pressure by about 10% in the left side of their hearts. Dogs lower the risk of heart attacks, alleviate depression, and lower the risk of a stroke.

More recently, dogs have even been able to detect COVID.

As if all that weren’t enough, think of the thousands of people search and rescue dogs have saved from a variety of situations – from hikers who have gotten lost in the wilderness to disaster victims trapped underneath rubble.

Nothing can fill the silence of an empty home better than dogs and children. Dogs keep people moving and exercising, because they require walks every day. Admit it – you like playing fetch endlessly and throwing the Frisbee and seeing of your dog can catch it. Dogs give you a reason t6o get up and go!

Although it might be easy to forget your dog in all the preparations for the holidays, take a minute to give him extra praise and an extra “thank you” for his love, support and respect.