Many animal-lovers contemplate a cat or pup can help you live a longer, happier, healthier life. But does the science back them up?
My childhood dog was called Biff. Biff was a handful. He was a loud, cocky shetland sheepdog who exuded bravado and gallantry. Yet, underneath everything is, he fought with the dog version of hypocrite syndrome. Biff was a bag of masked danger. He was like the kid in school who says he has understand all the scary movies, but refuses to go to any sleepovers where creepy movies are played; the kid who has ” a girlfriend at another institution “. It was that fragile slope I specially enjoyed about Biff during my teenage years. We shared an danger that neither of us had the cognitive abilities to put into words. This was a friendship- one that lasted as he developed older, grumpier and more infirm.
He was an exceptionally licky dog, and desired nothing more than slurping his tongue over our jeans, shoes, socks and coats. Officially, this behaviour was something we attempted to quash- but, every few nights, I would tiptoe into the kitchen and allow him to lick my naked handwritings and wrists to his heart’s content. For me, the excitement was tickly and calming, and never once outraging, even though those around me told me it was not a good idea, principally because it was highly likely that, on any thrown daytime, Biff had remain his beak into some poor fox’s rotting corpse. I didn’t care. I bathed my hands like a surgeon afterwards, apparently. But it was what Biff wanted.
I haven’t had a dog since Biff( I’m roughly 40 ), and my family and I are deciding whether it’s time to get our own dog. This may seem like a very big decision. Part of the reason we want a pup is that we want to walk more. We want to be healthier. We want to be happier. But questions flit uneasily in the pit of my gut. Will having a pet actually manufacture us happier? Will we be healthier? Does having a pet always shape us better parties?