weekly blog--one for the ages
I grew up in Long Beach (NY), and the biggest event of the year was the Memorial Day parade. It brought everyone in town together to remember those who fought in America’s wars, and to celebrate the start of summer.
We are a long way off from the dog days of summer, but often overlooked in Memorial Day celebrations are the roles dogs have played in warfare. Since ancient times, they have been used as scouts, sentries and trackers. The first official use of dogs for military purposes in the United States was during the Seminole Wars. Hounds were used in the American Civil War to protect, send messages, and guard prisoners. General Grant recounts how packs of southern bloodhounds were destroyed by Union troops wherever found due to their being trained to hunt men. Dogs were also used as mascots in American World War I propaganda and recruiting posters.
Dogs are especially important for the 50 and over group too. They keep people connected to their communities and keep them on the move, a vital part of staying healthy into the later years. Research studies have repeatedly found that dog ownership correlates with lower risks of heart disease, stroke and depression. Dogs are great for providing physical exercise, socialization, and overall day-to-day companionship.
Now, a new research study implies that the choice of getting a dog is heavily influenced by an individual’s genetic makeup. Researchers found concordance rates of dog ownership to be much larger in identical twins than in non-identical ones.
Among the top dog breeds for seniors: Pug, Schnauzer, Cocker Spaniel, Chihuahua, Boston Terrier, Shih Tzu, Beagle, Poodle, Yorkshire Terrier, Pomeranian.