I have always found dogs to be life-enhancing but now it seems that they are life-extending, too. I’ve had them all my life –how else can my survival to the near-80s be explained?
A study in the US on people who have suffered heart attacks reveals that dog owners are more than four times likely to survive a coronary unpleasantness.
Furthermore they visit a doctor between 15 and 20 per cent less. This hands out brownie points all round because it leaves them with more money to pay the vet’s bill, a bank-breaking factor in the people/pooch relationship.
Actually, US citizens and we Brits have much in common. If the American is at death’s door in hospital he’s likely to stay there until medical insurance matters are sorted out. If it doesn’t happen in time to secure his future in this cruel old world, well, tough.
Much the same applies to the dear old lady with a poorly pooch right here and now.
I do wonder how many aged owners with their beloved pets find the money to keep an equally elderly dog going. We used to meet an old dear with an ancient pug that wheezed itself off this mortal coil. For months she did the same walk every morning carrying her dog lead with nothing at the other end. We found this so sad that we changed the venue of our morning walkies.
Fact is that dogs are remarkable creatures. I had a collie cross once that could find a tube of Smarties in the car’s glovebox, open it, eat a few and then put it back with the top on. Beat that if you can. Meanwhile, a survey of UK cat owners aged 55 and over indicated that the majority felt their moggies helped them overcome stress and loneliness and were a great comfort as time went by.
Ninety-six percent of all cats interviewed said they didn’t give a monkey’s either way as long as tasty food, full-cream milk and warmth and comfort continued to be dished out in sufficient quantities. Sorry, I digress. Getting old and feeble and falling down frequently as I am and as I do, I find that our sole surviving dog, a Yorkie called Ben, is suffering from parallel decay and offers no practical help whatsoever.
This is why I am now studying the Swiss media, not for details of the DIY suicide ‘top shop’ establishment, oh no, but for breeders of St Bernards.It could pick me up by the seat of my pants, realign me, and give me a large gargle from the barrel round its neck. Tot dog, without a doubt...