One of the great lines from the 1987 movie Wall Street uttered by Gordon Gekko, played by Michael Douglas, was, “If you need a friend get a dog.”
Well, who doesn’t need a friend? Who doesn’t need a lot of friends?
Here is my friend, CoCo, a 5-year-old Schnoodle (schnauzer poodle mix), who runs to the door when I come home, no matter what time, doing her dance, before running to the couch where she expects me, no matter what time, to pet her and tell her she is the best. She then stays at my side on the couch until I shut the light off in our family room, after which she runs and jumps into bed.
Every morning when I walk to the kitchen, CoCo jumps around me like it was the return of a long lost pal.
CoCo is known by everyone who comes into the Popovich house, where she greets them with the same happy and playful dance.
Talk about first impressions and service excellence!
The second picture is our family’s newest addition, MoMo, also known as Mr. Mo, Uncle Mo, and a number of other spontaneous names. He is my daughter Chris’ toy poodle, and he has assumed the same act when I get home. He also has added chin kisses to CoCo’s routine.
Both CoCo and MoMo like watching the hockey games and the NHL network , and are particular fans of the Red Wings. CoCo favors Nick Lidstrom, while MoMo continues to root for the recently retired Mike Modano. Both prefer the NHL go to a bigger ice surface.
How does this relate to health?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have a great piece on its website about the benefits of pet ownership, including the science that pets can decrease your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels and feelings of loneliness. Pets increase our opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities, as well as opportunities for socialization.
Therapy dogs provide affection and comfort to patients. The first therapy dog reportedly was Smoky, a Yorkshire terrier abandoned on the battlefield in New Guinea and found by Corporal William Wynne.
When Wynne was hospitalized for jungle disease, Dr. Charles Mayo (yes that Mayo brother) allowed Smoky to go on rounds and sleep with the recuperating Wynne. Smoky remained a therapy dog for 12 years.
Recently, some 14 stray dogs rescued by US service members were reunited at JFK Airport. These dogs that were rescued from Afghanistan are often credited with performing their own rescue mission there.
As quoted in the New York Post on Nov. 16, 2011, serviceman Zachary Henning said about his dog Gus, “”It was very stressful out there. To have an animal like Gus keep us company, reduce the stress…he warmed my heart and helped me survive mentally and I need to repay him.”
Well, my CoCo is a friend, provides me with affection and comfort, warms my heart, and reduces my stress and blood pressure.
I am sure you have similar stories of friendship and health. I would love to hear and see them, so please share in the comments section below.