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  • Writer's pictureBret & Amber Tueller

Puppy Love

It seems everyone in Colorado has a dog. Maybe there's a reason why.

Study excerpts from Jane Weaver Article, 2004

Those big brown eyes gazing at you with adoration. The wet nose nudging bare feet in the early morning. That tireless wagging tail that symbolizes pure joy in your presence.

We know that dogs are dedicated companions that offer unquestioning attachment and acceptance. But it's more than that. Numerous studies have shown that dogs -- one of the earliest domesticated animals -- can help lower blood pressure, ease the loneliness of the elderly in nursing homes, and help children overcome allergies.

There are even studies suggesting the hormonal changes that occur when humans and dogs interact could help people cope with depression and certain stress-related disorders. Preliminary results from a study show that a few minutes of stroking our pet dog prompts a release of a number of "feel good" hormones in humans, including serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin.

In addition, petting our pooches results in decreased levels of the primary stress hormone cortisol, the adrenal chemical responsible for regulating appetite and cravings for carbohydrates.

Research has found that having a four-legged companion like a dog can lower your risk of heart disease.

According to a Swedish study, individuals living alone who own a dog noticed a significantly reduced risk of suffering from cardiovascular-related death by 36%, while dog owners in a multi-person household saw a decreased risk of cardiovascular death by 15%.

Why does Spot make us feel better?

Therapy dogs have been used to visit nursing homes, calm traumatized children and help ease pain in people undergoing physical rehabilitation, but the field of animal-assisted therapy is still in its infancy. Researchers are trying to determine which types of people would best benefit from being with pet animals and how often they need to interact with them to get results.

Scientists have found that 15 minutes of quietly stroking a dog caused hormonal changes that are beneficial to both the dog and the human.

Another important factor in preventing heart disease is exercise, and dog owners generally get more physical activity than their canine-less counterparts.

In another study, 50 dog owners and 50 non-dog owners over the age of 18 sat in a quiet room for 15 to 39 minutes with their own dog, a friendly but strange dog, and a robotic dog. The robotic dog was included because electronic pooches, such as Sony's AIBO, are being studied as a possible resource for the elderly who can't look after a live animal.

Each session involved calm stroking or petting. Researchers checked blood samples of both the humans and dogs at the beginning of each session and monitored their blood pressure every five minutes. The dogs' blood pressure dropped as soon as they were petted. The humans' blood pressure dropped by approximately 10 percent about 15 to 30 minutes after they began petting the animal, at which point blood was again drawn.

The study found that serotonin levels increased when interacting with the human's own dog, but not with the unfamiliar animal. And serotonin actually decreased when interacting with the robotic dog.

Not just learned behavior

In other words, the warm feeling we get from our dogs and other pets isn't just a learned behavior, but something that's hard-wired into humans so that the presence of animals can help us stay well and even recover from illnesses.

It's a theory that's been gaining notable scientific support for some time:

• In 1995, Erika Friedman at the University of Maryland Hospital conducted a study involving 392 people, which found that heart attack patients with dogs were eight times more likely to be alive a year later than people without dogs.

• In 1999, the State University of New York at Buffalo conducted a study involving 24 stock brokers taking medication for high blood pressure. The researchers found that adding a dog or cat to the stock brokers' lives helped stabilize and reduce their stress levels.

• In 1999, Swedish researchers reported that children exposed to pets during the first year of life had fewer allergies and less asthma.

• Recently, separate studies reported that walking a dog contributed to a person's weight loss and that dog walking can be a catalyst for social interaction with other people, a benefit that can help improve our sense of well-being -- or even help us meet a future spouse.

Treat your best friend

Since they do so much for us, it's only fair that we pamper our "best friends." Camp Bow Wow in Parker is an oasis paradise for your pooch.

Today, if you drop your dog off at Camp Bow Wow for the day, they've probably got a better life than you. This is where they get to hang out, sniff a few chums, play like a sugared-up kid, and lounge in a nice soft bed. They get the attention and doting that reciprocates the affection they always give their owners.

Camp Bow Wow provides doggy day care, overnight boarding, professional grooming, and enrichment services for your family dog.

The daycare is convenient for families with dogs who are either traveling on vacation and unable to bring their fur friends along, at work for most of the day, or any other similar situation.

Your dog deserves the best – they deserve the premier, all-inclusive services of Camp Bow Wow. Your pup can romp and play all day long, socializing with other dogs and humans. It’s no wonder pups pull their parents to our front door every time they come to Camp!

Gina, Shannon and Nick have built a reputation for excellent dog care that goes above and beyond.

Camp Bow Wow is located at 10325 S Progress Way Parker, CO 80134.


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