Monday , 11 December 2017

In the end…Grandma knows best!

If someone told me years ago the benefits I would get from having a pet, I would have probably doubted “the sell”.  But now that I am a pet owner, I am a true believer of all the benefits associated with being a Mom to my furry babies.  I can also say that my husband feels the same way!  Our home and our lives have become truly enriched, in a variety of ways,  as a result of pet ownership.

In fact,  there have been many studies that have proven that having a pet can actually benefit children, seniors, and basically everyone.  I will not talk about everyone, but I will go through our own experience and how that has actually been passed on through the generations.

We are  certainly more active.  We walk the dogs everyday and never miss it.  If you are on a 10,000 step a day challenge like myself, you REALLY appreciate having the commitment that comes with having daily walks-the whole family benefits- time away from everything -what we now see as real DOWN TIME.

There has also been suggestions that having a pet can be a “key” so attracting the RIGHT kind of relationships. Speaking about my own relationship- Bailey, my oldest furry baby,  sealed the deal with Wayne.  He decided quite quickly that he liked Wayne and actually preferred to sit and be walked by Wayne; which still exists today.. by the way!  And on a side note-Wayne is the best Pet Daddy ever, so trusting Bailey’s instincts was the way to go!  I could not ask for a better partner either!

The way humans treat an animals can say a lot about their personalities.  So for all of you looking to date and to find that right connection-a pet is a natural conversation starter and can say a lot about the character of someone you are starting to get to know.  A few years ago, the SPCA held a pet- lover speed-dating night. I personally thought it was brilliant and wanted to go…but I was already in a relationship! 🙂  I did hear that a bit of successful match-making did go on!

It does not even really have to be about dating-pets can help people socialize and develop relationships period.  It works just like with people who have kids, and make friends because of the common bond they have due to their kids’ common interest and activities.  Pets can do the same thing.  When I lived on Monkland, I was stunned at the community that had established itself at the Girourd Dog Park-people became friends, shared house-sitting duties, and shared resources.   It is astonishing just how many pet groups exist in and around Montreal. I happen to belong to a Pug meetup-408 Pug lovers-How could you be surprised!  Being part of this group has not only provided me with a perfect opportunity for Kayla (our Pug) to get socialized, but I also learned a lot about the breed, met friends, found the right vet, and became part of a community of like-minded pug lovers. Sometimes the conversation stays at the dog level but I would say, for the most part,it has developed into a real social interchange that I appreciate.

I am also a big believer that pets can be great for the elderly.  I adopted a dog, 9 years ago, and gave it to my parents.  Kalua has been truly beneficial for my parents who experienced empty nest syndrome since my Brother and I left Belledune, NB and moved to other provinces.  I am positive that the commitment and responsibility, along with the amount of unconditional love, this rescued dog (saved just in time from Berger Blanc by the way) meant for my parents; helpng them through a variety of health scares.  My Mom is a survivor of Breast Cancer and my Dad, Prostrate Cancer. Kalua was with them every step of the way-sensed that there was something wrong and became more demanding on their time, to provide exercise and companionship, which in the end, I think, helped them to concentrate on other things instead of constantly thinking about their health concerns. In fact, they actually ended up caring more about their after-care (maybe not consciously) as a result of having Kalua.  Happily, I can report that they are both cancer-free with a clean bill of health today!

I once asked my Grandmother, who is 91 years young and a wealth of unspoken knowledge why she has managed to live so long with only stepping inside a doctor’s office 3 times in her life. (My Grandma is not about books, studies, or statistics..she is just about “what is”).   Her answer was simple, “ Cut wood, pick and eat wild berries, shovel snow, take long walks, don’t rely on pills, let the husband cook, don’t worry so much, take a long walk every day, and absolutely own a pet!”  I questioned her more about pet ownership, and she summed it up like this, “I never once felt lonely or not needed”.  “Mumford (her cat named after my Grandfather’s nic-name) gets me up in the morning, asks to be fed, wants affection on demand, and runs the house-I just live here and must earn my keep!”

With more discussion, and more prompting, Nanny Murne, went on to say that so many kids have allergies and asthma today.  She said, “None of my 11 kids, 15 grand-children, or 12 great-grand-children have allergies or asthma, and that’s because all love and live with pets”.  “Shelly, it is not good to be too clean!”

She may be just my Grandma but she could really have something there. According to James Gern, a well known Pediatrician, kids that grow up in a home with pets are less likely to show evidence of pet allergies (19% vs. 33%), less flare-ups of eczema, and definitely higher levels of immune system chemicals- a sign of a stronger immune system.

Maybe… just maybe… Grandma knows BEST!

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