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The benefits of having a dog, a perfect match

  Recently I heard something on the news that talked about a connection between people living alone and Alzheimer’s. As I do live alone, it struck a chord with me and I did some more research on it. In the news piece they were talking about things that could make one more susceptible to Alzheimer’s, and the one they mentioned as the biggest risk was – being single!!!
At first I was shocked, and then I thought about it and realized perhaps what they meant. Being alone, not talking to anyone on a regular basis. Yes, I agree with that part.
I have since read an article from the UK about the same topic. They talk more about married people generally leading a happier life. Some of the reasons they give are, encouragement from spouse as to healthy habits, and an important social support. They say that lots of research suggests that social interaction can help to build cognitive reserve.
Yet they also go on to say that -“While people who are unmarried or widowed may have fewer opportunities for social engagement as they age, this certainly isn’t always the case”. Of course what is important whether married or single is to stay physically, mentally, and socially active.
It is just as challenging to do this, as it is easy to not do this, when you are single, as it is when one is married.
Ok enough; as I say I guess it struck a chord, and I have been married. I think if I still were, I might not have any of the benefits mentioned. And that of course is the case with many married, or single. Being married or in a partnership does not necessarily mean better social interaction and mental and physical exercise, of course.
I am single, and I live alone (no people), and have been both, most of my adult life. I enjoy living alone, without another human. As I am in the reinventing myself stage, I will call it, and now I do not go out to a job every day I still need that social contact and mental stimuli that it provided.
Well, I get out every day and talk to people, -because I walk my dog. My dog helps me meet people. I always stop and talk to people when I am with him.
Dogs are, as is well known; good for our health. I believe that having a dog gets one out, and that is of course a health benefit. (Ok maybe not on a rainy day if one has my dog- he hates the rain)
Yet just having him here as company, is so significant to me. I know he will come to my desk soon and see what I am up to and why it does not include him. Yet it does.
There is a lot written about the health benefits of having a dog. Much of it refers to the physical exercise and the benefit to the heart. I think they also help the heart by just being there.
 They can be a benefit to the heart, keep high blood pressure down, and be a positive effect one ones mood helping with depression anxiety and stress, as much research agrees. This is a quote from one of the many articles I have read about this topic. “One of the reasons for these therapeutic effects is that dogs fulfill the basic human need to touch… The companionship of a pet can also ease loneliness, and most dogs are a great stimulus for healthy exercise, which can substantially boost your mood and ease depression.
And no one can really know if they can help prevent Alzheimer’s but as getting out and meeting people and talking and walking every day is a good thing, I am hopeful that they will.
They also have been shown to help those who are suffering with Alzheimer’s by being a stress relief, a calming influence, and a source of positive non verbal communication. And pets can help ease the stress of caregivers too. I have read also that finding pets in the Alzheimer communities is quite common.
One of my purposes in life is to be an advocate for dogs and their purpose in society. I have formed a society called Citizen Canine Companion; it is really just in its infant stage. Its mission is to promote the importance of dogs in our society, to our well being.
I am also an artist and the first project of the society is a fence of dog faces (and a few cats too) I am doing. I am raising money for BC and Alberta Guide dogs and dogs for Autism support. I completed one fence and am working on the second one. I was in the local paper and on the news about it in 2016.
People love their dogs.
I also am the owner of this web site where I post useful information about dogs mostly. And my web site focuses on pet related art. ( it is a work in progress at this writing.)
Every day I go out with my dog, and every day I talk to someone, who might have been alone, or not, and every day, I make at least one person smile.
I am writing this in the hope that this is read by people who are single, and also those who might be concerned about Alzheimer’s. Many of those people are also dog lovers; some may already have a dog and be aware of its benefits.
In today’s society there are more and more people that choose to be single, and there is not a match for everyone. A dog makes so much difference. Ok you can’t have a two way conversation with them, but you go out with them, and they help you get exercise, and talk to people.
Many find joining or going to social events difficult, and they are reluctant to go even though they know the benefit of social interaction. (I am talking about myself here too) Yet, just getting out with a dog can provide so much, and it is so much easier, and rewarding. It provides the physical exercise needed, as well as the social interaction, and mental exercise..
There are thousands of dogs needing rescued and as many lonely people.
Seems like a perfect match.


Below are the references to two articles I refer to.

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